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«XXa T8> avQ^wTys otirfisf xai a V7fd.rlu<iiy x«« o/« AEYefTi. 

liUciAN, 'E'KKTKOTrvvrtf^ 

I ■wished not merely to see ciifes and woods, as one can see them in maps 
kut wen, and vhat they do, and u'Aat they say. 





C. Slower, Printer, Paternoster Ron, 



OR, * 


Why do I yield to that suggestion. 
Whose horrid image doth uafix my hair, 
And make my seated heart knock at my rib= 

Against the use of nature? 


During the day Annibal gave to Cyprian 
some papers, which contained an account 
of what had recently befallen him, after 
briefly sketching to him what was first 
necessary to be known, viz. the subject of 
his former correspondence with Ippolito, 
Where this is deficient, said he, at the close, 
I can supply it by narrative. It was v/rit ten 
VOL. II. ji -in 


in solitude and durance ; you must there- 
fore expect a simple detail of lonely in- 
dividual feelings ; variety was precluded 
by the barrenness' of utter solitude, and 
embellishment by the absence of all soli- 
citude about a manuscript, which I thought 
would never become visible till its writer 
was no more. 

It was on the second night after Palle- 
rini*s arrival at the castle, that I took the 
resolution Filippo had suggested to me, 
of visiting the tower. When I look back 
on the expectations I had formed of this 
circumstance and its consequences, and 
compare them with what has actually be- 
fallen, I can scarce be assured of my 
own identity. I can scarce think that 
the being then, whose mind was but 
partially tinged with fear and curiosity, 
whose expectations were balanced by in- 
credulity, and whose credulity was again 
alarmed by experience — who was in that 
suspended state in which fear is not too 



powerful, nor solicitude too severe, can 
be the being now, whose mind is made 
up, whose feeling is tense, and the terrors 
of w^hose fate have appeared to him 
w^ithout cloud or shadow, without miti- 
o;ation or medium — w^hose knowledo-e is 
without bounds, whose fear is without 
hope — who has no relief of human un- 
certainty, no shelter of natural obscurity. 
On that night wx supped in the great 
corridor; it was intensely hot. I ob- 
served the Duke and my father deeply 
engaged in conversation, and quitted the 
table unnoticed. I went to my apart- 
ment, where I expected Filippo would 
soon join me; but he was there already, 
his dark eyes full of something. I had 
often seen them marked with curiosity 
and w onder ; never before with fear. He 
anticipated my questions — '^ Oh^ Signer^ 
strange things are doing within these 
walls to-night — things that would never 
come into the thought of man are pass- 
B 2 ing 


ing near us, frightfully near us: (draw- 
ing close to me and whispering,) you 
will scarce believe what I have seen, Sig- 
nor." " What have you seen, Filippo/' 
(said I, laying down the light,) — '"The 
confessor — the confessor, Signor ! I 
knew it long ago — 1 told the Count — 
would to heaven the inquisition had 
him — would to St. Agatha the Primate 
Cardinal of Naples had to deal with him. 
There was an old Carthusian in the village 
where I was born, who would feel the 
presence of a spirit before a taper had 
burned blue ; and banished from his con- 
vent a stubborn imp who had defied holy 
water, and even Latin ever so long. Oh ! 
would he were but to meet this monk, 
I v/arrant he would find him other employ- 
ment than lurking in vaults, and mingl- 
ing with the dead, and" . . . '' Filippo, 
you must be composed ; if you have any 
thing to relate, relate without wander- 
ings and exaggeration : the time is a 



solemn one; nor do I wish my mind 
to be disturbed from the object I have 
fixed it on." " Signor, I will not exag- 
gerate ; I will tell you what I have really 
. . . but foro-ive me if I tell it with 
many starts of fear. Remember it is 
midnight ; and that I am speaking of 
things fearful to think of, even at noon- ^ 
day ; and forgive me . . . You know, 
Signor, how suspicions I have been of 
that father Schemoli, as he calls himself, 
though all that ever knew him say, they 
never saw father, or mother, or relative, 
or any one that owned him; but that, a 
few years back, when he took the vows 
in the Dominican convent in Gaeta, they 
talked of his having been first seen by 
some wrecked lishermen, after a terrible 
storm, ail in a blaze of lightning, perch- 
ed on a crag of a little desolate island 
in the Grecian sea ; but this is nothing 
to the purpose." "I wish you could have 
remembered that, Filippo." "Well, Sig- 



nor, I Iiave always watched and feared 
him ; and, after I saw him last night, 
visibly pacing down that passa^'c to the 
north tower, I felt assured that he was 
connected some way with the strange 
noises and strange reports I had heard 
of . that tower. So, Signor, all day I 
sought him through the castle; for I have 
a strange desire. Sign or, to look into the 

^\/f^o nnA f^^^' ^C ^,nf> vvlinm I SUSDCCt of 

any thing : I alwa^^s think I discover 
something by it; but all was in vain. 
At length I bethought myself, and it was 
a bold thing, for some of the people of 
the castle would as soon enter the hole 
of scorpions as approach that room ; I 
bethought myself of going to his chamber. 
I knew the partitions and doors there were 
ci'azy; and I thought, through some 
chink or crevice, I might get a sight of 
him, perhaps, strangely employed. Now, 
Signor, you have learning, and could 
perhaps explain your feelings better ; 



but I had a strong thought, an audible 
voice, as it ^vere, in my mind, that 
seemed to tell me, if 1 went it would not 
be in vain : it w^as as plain as if one of 
those pictures spoke from its frame to 
me: it was strange to me, and yet it 
gave me courage. I went about mid- 
day, when most of the family were asleep. 
I stole softly along, holding my breathy 
and looking round me, though there 
was no one near me ; yet w^hen I came 
to the very door, I could not help 
glancing behind m.e, to see if he were 
close to me; for I had a feeling, as if 
he had been stealing along with me the 
whole way, and would just gripe me as 
I came to his door. All was quiet ; the 
passage empty ; the door closed. I heard 
a little noise in his room, often ceasing, 
and often repeated, as if the person w^ithin 
was engaged in something that he would 
every now and then quit to prevent being 
overheard. I tried a thousand places to 



get a convenient view of the room ; ai 
length I fixed on one behind an old pic- 
ture^ in a waste recess ; for all that part 
of the west turret is waste and dreary ; and 
they say he therefore chose it for him- 
self. I had a full view of him ; he sat 
with his cowl thrown back: — never, but 
in my dreams, the time I had a fever, 
have I beheld such a face. One arm was 
extended; and 1 saw by his whole frame^ 
that he was talking with earnest, and, 
as it were, ^ngry gesture, (as he might do 
in the confessional, when reproving a pe- 
nitent, ) though I believed him alone. 
I changed my posture at the crevice to 
spy who could be with him ; and I saw — 
yes, Signor, with these eyes I saw" . . , 
'' Hush, hush, Filippo ; more than me will 
hear your information." — "Then, Signor," 
creeping to me on tip-toe, " you must let 
me whisper, for 1 feel I shall shriek telling, 
if I do not.'' "Tell it any way, only proceed. 
■»— "I saWj blessed mother, a skeleton seated 



in a chair opposite to him, plain and 
erect, and with all that horrid quietness, 
as if it was the ordinary visit of a com- 
panion. My eyes grew dim. I had rather 
have seen him rendino; and abusing; those 
dead bones, as they say the men of the 
unholy art do ; for to sit face to face, in 
broad day-light, as man sits with man, 
with the decayed rem.ains of the grave, 
with an object so loathsome to the eyes 
of flesh . . . Oh ! it gave me a more 
ghastly thought of him than the night I 
saw him in the vaults of the old chapel. 
I could not bear to behold hira. 1 stole 
away again and a« I went, there came a 
hollow clattering sound from the room, as 
if that strange object was in motion. I 
hurried on, and scarce thought myself 
safe till I had got down the great stairs, 
and saw, at a secure distance, the little 
narrow oratory window, like a hole in 
a wizzard's den." — '^ It was indeed a 
ghastly sight, Filippo ; but what is this 
B 5 to 


to our present purpose ; light that other 
lamp, and follow me." I was hastening 
away : *' Stay, stay, Signor, this is not all ; 
Oh these are fearful things to pass so near 
us, and to pass unnoted too ; to think that 
we are in the next chamber to a being 
whose dealings are with the dead ; for 
to-night, Signor, to-night again I saw 
him." '' Forbear those gestures, Fillppo, 
they tell of worse things than your story." 
" Oh ! it was just so, Signor, I felt my 
arms raised, and my teeth grinding, and 
my very eye-brows stretched up to my 
forehead, when I saw him to-night com- 
ing along the passage from his room." 
*' Why do you throw yourself thus in his 
way, if the only effect is fear ?" ''I could 
not help it, Signor ; I felt I could not help 
it ; I wished myself far off, but I could 
not move ; he came on slowly, as if he 
were encumbered ; he saw me not, those 
high windows give so little light, and I 
had shrunk just under one of them. I 
3 thought 


thought, as he passed, I heard other sound 
beside his steps : I looked after him, and 
under his garments the dead feet were 
peeping out. Oh ! he is a creature, in 
whom are so strangely mixed, what be- 
longs to the living, and what to the 
dead, that we know not who it is we 
see when he crosses us, nor what he will 
prove while we are yet looking at him. 
I followed him, though I scarce knew 
whither I was going, nor felt the floor 
under me. He went down some steps to 
the left, where, you know, Signor, there 
is supposed to be a passage that has been 
long shut up, but where the wall is as 
blank and solid as this. Then 1 thought I 
should see something that would last me 
to tell of all my life, that the wall would 
open to receive, or the floor sink under, 
or a huge black hand be held out to 
him, dr at least there would be a smell 
of sulphur as he disappeared." — " Well — 
well — but what did you really see?''^ ■ 


'' I followed Still, Sign or; I know not 
how I felt; but I followed, when, sudden- 
ly turning on me — blessed saints ! — it was 
not the monk : — a skeleton head stared at 
me — a bare decayed arm beckoned me 
backward. I retreated fast enough ; but 
I dared not turn my back, while it was 
in sight least it should pursue me. It is 
more than an hour since I saw it, yet I 
see it still — every where — on the walls, 
on the ceilings; when the light falls 
strong, even I see it. I see it when I 
close my eyes ; the deep, dark hollowness 
of the empty brow will never leave me.'* 
— " Filippo, is this your preparation to 
accompany me ; to talk yeurself into ter- 
rors about an object which, whether su- 
pernatural or not, has no connection 
with us, nor wdth our purpose to night ?" 
— "Will you go to the tower to-night, 
to-night, Signor ?'' — " I am going Filip- 
po." I rose and took the lamp; for I 



knew it was easier to work on fear by 
shame than by argument ; and I felt a 
rising disinclination to going alone. Oh! 
we are all^ in every state of existence, 
in every stage of intellect, the slaves of 
an inward dread of futurity, and its beings. 
The wisest of us, in the very pith and 
pride of our wisest moods, will suddenly 
feel himself checked and oppressed by an 
influence caught from the remembrances 
of childhood, the dream of sickness, the 
vision of night or solitude; from the 
story, the monition, the bare hint of the 
menial, or the crone, the humblest in- 
ferior in rank and in intellect, at the 
strength of which he laughs, shudders, 
and submits. Filippo followed me in si- 
lence,* ashamed to repeat his fears, yet 
displeased they were put to another 
trial. Ippolito, (for to you I address 
these pages, though doubtful you will 
even ever see them,) you must youi-self 
feel the hushed step, the stifled breath, 



the suspicious and lowered glance of eye 
that accompanies these movements, be- 
fore their effect can be described to you. 
We came to the door of the passage; 
we tried, and found it open. At another 
time this circumstance would have struck 
me with surprise ; but I was now so oc- 
cupied by strange expectation, that I re- 
garded it merelv with that blind satisfac- 
tion which one feels at an object being 
unexpectedly facilitated to them. As 
we entered the passage, however, an 
unpleasant sensation arose within me. 
The iirst, and the last time I had trodden 
it before, poor old 'Michelo had been 
my conductor ; the unfortunate old 
man, whom either my curiosity or my 
fear had actually killed. With an invo- 
luntary motion I raised my lamp to Filip- 
po's face, to discover if my companion 
was changed; for I had felt a change in 
my own perceptions, that would prepare 
me for, and justify any strange appear- 


ance at the moment; and twice or thrice, 
not unconsciously, yet unwillingly, I heard 
myself call him Michelo. — ''Do not call 
me Michelo, while we are here, Signor ;" 
and I was angry and disturbed at his 
mentioning the name, though I had ut^ 
tered it first, and giving him the pain 
he onjy wished removed. 

With many such crossings of mind, 
sometimes resisted, and sometimes resist- 
ed in vain, we reached the apartments. 
The doors were open there too; but I 
endeavoured to withdraw my mind from 
every lesser notice^ to still the flutter and 
variety of my thoughts, and fix them 
singly on the search of the apartments, 
and on the discovery of any circumstances 
that might attend their being opened and 
visited the preceding night. I passed 
through both apartments slowly, look- 
ing around me, but discovering nothing 
I had expected to see. Filippo followed 
still slower, with the lingering of fear, 


16 FATAL revenge; or^ 

holding the lamp high, and confining 
his eye to that part of the room where 
the light fell clear. But in the second 
apartment I perceived the pannel re- 
moved. The circumstances of my last 
visit rushed on my mind : I moved me- 
chanically towards it ; but Filippo, when 
he saw me actually entering it, could con- 
tain no longer. — ''Ah, Signor, how well 
you seem to know all these fearful places ; 
and will you indeed go down that pas- 
sage, that looks like a passage to the 
grave? (he shuddered,) If I entered it, 
I should think the door would close on 
me, and shut me into that dark cavern- 
hole for ever. I should think (holding 
the light over it with a shaking hand,) 
to find the decayed bones of some poor 
wretch, whose end no one ever knew, 
thrown in one of those dusky nooks.'' — 
I was disturbed at his unconsciously re- 
viving every image I wished to banish; 
for I felt that if I suffered my mind to 



pause over every fearful suggestion of 
memory or fancy, my resolution would 
be exhausted, and the moment of trial, if 
one was approaching, find me unprepar- 

I took the lamp from him, and bidding 
him wait in the apartment, began to de- 
scend the steps. — " Pardon me, Signor," 
said he, following me eagerly ; " if there 
be danger, you shall not encounter it 
alone.'** I easily persuaded him to stay, 
however^ for I had no wish that he should 
witness all I had seen, or know all 1 
knew. His mind was too quick and te- 
nacious to see the object I had formerly 
seen there^ without drawing conclusions, 
perhaps too strong ; and I felt in the 
sense of his being so near me, a sufficient 
balance for dreary and utter loneliness. 

I went down the passage alone ; my 
lamp burned dim in the thick air. I 
would have hurried through it, without 
suffering my eye to glance beyond the 



limits of the light I carried; but I was 
come to search, and I felt myself impel- 
led to do it. The opening of the pannel- 
door and the passage could be ascribed 
to no common cause. I soon found the 
place where I had discovered the ske- 
leton ; it was open and empty ; the ca- 
vity remained in the wall; the rubbish 
appeared to have been lately scattered 
about; but there was no vestige of its 
former tenant. 

I felt myself fixed to the spot. The 
current of my thoughts ran like cross-set 
streams, dark, and disturbed, and thwart- 
ing, and each perplexing me with brief 
predominance. 1 was yet hanging over 
the spot, indulging in doubt and fear, 
yet believing that I was dissolving them, 
when I saw Filippo above bending over 
the steps, and beckoning to me, 1 could 
not soon disengage myself, for my mind 
w^as intensely occupied, and I resisted his 
impatient motions, as the sleeper resists 



the effort to awake him ; but before his 
fear could become distinct^ I heard 
feet approaching, and saw other lights 
above. The steps were light and quick ; 
I felt this was no spectre, and hastened up 
with a thousand feelings and intentions. 
They wxre driven back^ crushed, silenced, 
in a moment. I beheld my father and 
his confessor already in the room. Oh, 
how many thoughts w^ere with me m 
that moment's pause. My own situation 
and fears were forgotten. Michelo's 
hints, our joint discoveries, my father's 
character and habits, the well-watched 
secrecy of those bloody rooms . . . 
Ippolito, you are my brother ; my suspi- 
cions have since been but too well jus- 
tified, or I would sooner perish than 
write thus. But what have I known 
since ? what have I yet to tell ? — -Though 
these thoughts were so busy so remote, 
yet I felt my eyes involuntarily, and 



even painfully fixed on his; their ex- 
pression was terrible^ — the monk was 
behind^ holding up a taper in his bony 
hand ; his face w^as in the shade. — " An- 
nibal/' said my father^ with the broken 
voice of smothered rage, '^ why are you 
here ?" — I was silent ; for no lailgunge 
could relieve the tumult of my thoughts. 
■ — '^ Wretch^ rebels parricide," bursting 
out, " w^hy are you here, and who con- 
ducted you." — A was roused by his rage. 
■ — " Why, is it a crime/' said I, '' to be 
here!" - " That you shall know/' said he, 
fiercely, " by its punishment, at least."— 
He turned round, and turning, saw Filip- 
po, seemed to start into madness, and 
drew his sword, and rushed on him with 
a force, which the other scarce avoided 
by a sudden bound ; but the motion was 
so vehement, that the sword stuck in the 
wall, and remained fixed. Though dis- 
armed, he again flew on him, and but for 
the monk and me, w^ould have dashed him 



-down the steps, or strangled him against 
the wainscot. Oh ! it is horrible to hold 
the straining arms, and look on the blood- 
shot eye, and blue writhen lip, and hear 
the hoarse roar of a man rendered a 
fiend by passion. — '' Villain/' said he, 
foaming, and scarcely held, '■' 'tis to such 
as you I owe my being thus persecuted, 
suspected, slandered — that my castle seems 
like a prison, and I tremble to meet the 
eyes of my own servants. You crouch 
over your fires, hinting treason to 
each other, till every owl that whoops 
from my battlements seems to call me 
murderer." — " Hush, hush, this is mad- 
ness," said the monk, in a peculiar ac- 
cent, " Follow me," said my father, 
resuming his sullen state. — '^ Where is 
my sword?" — His eye fell on the place 
where it was fixed; the light which the 
monk hastily held up, fell strongly on 
his face. For millions I would not have 
had within my breast a heart that could 



hold any alliance with such a face as 
his for a moment became. The sword 
was fixed in the wall where the stain of 
blood was so deep and strong. With an 
eye (which he seemed unable to with- 
draw or to close) terribly fastened to 
the spot, twice he said, faintly and in- 
wardly, " Will no one give me my 
sword ? will no one approach that wall ?" 
The monk drew it out, and gave it to 
him. He turned away with the effort of 
one who would raise his head, and dilate 
his chest, and stride proudly forward ; but 
his step was unequal, and his whole frame 
was shaken. He bid us follow him, stern- 
ly, and quitted the apartment. I had no 
means of resistance, and was so lost in 
thought, that of myself I thought not at 
all. The monk, who bore the light, 
lingered a moment, as \f to see us quit 
the room. When my father called frcri 
the passage, '' Come quickly. Father ; 
I am in darkness, I am alone ; Father, I 



say, come quickly." His voice gradually 
rose, as if something he feared was ra- 
pidly appror. ching him ; it almost be- 
came a shriek. The moirk hurried out, 
and we followed him. My father placed 
himself in the midst of us as we de- 
scended the stairs. I can give you no 
account of my feelings at this time — 
they were dark, mingled, strange. I be- 
lieved there was danger impending over 
me ; •but what it was I could neither 
measure nor calculate. Ippolito, will you 
censure, or will you wonder at me ? If 
I can recollect the state of my mind at 
that time the predominant sensation was 
pleasure ; pleasure indeed of a doubtful, 
gloomy character, but certainly pleasure. 
The discovery I had formerly made, seem- 
ed so fully confirmed by my father s pur- 
suit of us — his rage — his terror — and a 
thousand other circumstances I had re- 
marked with the keenest local observa- 
tion, that whether it was from pride in 



my own sagacity and perseverance, or 
from the resistless satisfaction that ac- 
companies the final dissolution of doubt 
and perplexity; or from some other se- 
cret spring within me, I certainly was 
conscious of pleasure in no mean de- 
gree. Amid all this terror and danger, 
whatever I then felt was abo«t to be ter- 
ribly interrupted. We had come to the 
foot of the stairs without a sound but 
that of our steps. I turned involunfarily 
to the left, where the passage communi- 
cated with the castle. My father and 
the monk stopped. I read a consulta- 
tion of blood in their dark pause. I 
turned to them. The lamp, held high, 
and burning dimly, from our swift mo- 
tion, did not shew me a line of their 
countenances to read compassion or hope 
in. I grew deadly sick. — " This is the 
way," I faltered out, '' from this tower,'* 
and pointed to the passage. — '^ It is a 
%vay/' said my father, gloomily, '' it will 



be long ere you find/' I heard his words 
in that confusion of sense that retains 
the full meaning, though it mixes the 
sounds. I felt that danger was threaten- 
ed to me, but I could not conceive either 
its degree or direction. My father went 
a few paces to the right, and, with diffi- 
culty opening another door, motioned 
me to enter it. I obeyed with a stupid 
depression, that left me even no wish 
for resistance. There was such a kind 
of dark alliance between him and this 
tower, that I felt him as the lord of 
the place, and of the time, and follow- 
ed the waving of his hand, as if it were 
some instrument of power. In a mo- 
ment the door was closed on me. The 
human faces were shut out. Their very 
steps seemed to cease at once; door 
after door closed at successive* distances; 
but I did not feel myself alone till the 
ecii-^3 of the last had utterly died away. 
When I looked around me all was dim 
VOL. ir. c and 

iiO FATAL revenge; OEj 

and still. The morning light soon broke, 
and shewed me a large desolate room, 
so buried in the dust of long neglect, 
that walls, and windows, and roof seem- 
ed to sleep in the same grey and mingled 
tint. No part presented a change : you 
might gaze till your eyes grew as dim 
2s they, before the objects would re- 
fresh you with the least inequality : all 
around was dark, heavy, still. I had 
soon completed my comfortless survey. 
My thoughts turned inward on myself; I 
strove to drive them forth again ; there 
was nothing to invite or to receive them. 
The sun rose, and the Ions:, loni>' dav 
came on without object or employment 
for Rie. *' Man went forth to his work, 
and to his labour," and I sat in cold 
stagnation. The monk's coming to me 
with food, relieved me from a thouo-ht 
that visited me with a sting of agony 
the moment before. He also brought 
preparations for a couch; and so mi- 


serably anxious is the mind for the re-^ 
lief of variety in such a moment, that I 
looked at them with a most desolate 
eye. The very thought of changing the 
place of my confinement, which I now saw 
there was no hope of changing, had been a 
latent comfort to me. He went and de- 
parted in silence, which no adjurations 
could break, nor even procure from him 
a look that intimated a wish or future 
purpo^ "J of speaking. He went, and left 
me alone. Solitary confinement ! — may 
I experience any sufferings but such 
as those again 1 any other affliction 
supplies the power of its own resistance. 
There have been beings who have sung 
in the fires, and smiled on the rack ; but 
the nerveless vexation, the squalid lassi- 
tude, the helpless vacancy of solitary con- 
finement, when time flows on without 
mark or measure; when light and dark- 
is?ss are the only distinctions of day and 
night, instead of employment and repose ; 
c ^ ' wh.en 


V, hen, from the torpor of inexertion, man 
feels himself growing to, and becoming a 
part of the still senseless things about 
him^ as the chains that have eat into his 
wasted limbs, have begun, from cold 
and extinguished sensation, to feel like 
apart of them — that — Oh — that to beings 
of thought, of motion, of capacity — what 
is it ? — the uneasy consciousness of life, 
without its powers — the darkness of death, 
without its repose. 

When the first tumult of my mind had 
subsided, and I felt 1 was really left to my- 
self, I began to inquire what resources I 
had ; for I shuddered at the idea of total 
vacancy. 1 had no books, no pen, no in- 
strument or means of drawing. All 1 could 
do was— to think, to examine into my 
mind, and live on the stores of acquire- 
ment. 1 had read and thought more than 
young men of my age usual y do; and 
the exclusion of outward things, I endea- 
voured to think, would rather assist than 



impede my efforts to plunge into th^ 
depth of thought. But a short time con- 
vinced me how different the employ- 
ment is, that is sought for amusement, 
and the employment that is wooed for 
relief. I could not tfihik. Whatever train 
of thought I tried to weave, whether 
light or solid, became immediately taste- 
less, and declined into absence. A mono- 
tonous musing that yet had no object, no 
point, nothing to quicken reflection, that 
hung sullenly on the objects around, 
without drawino^ imao^e or inference from 
them, succeeded to every attempt at men- 
tal exertion. Here all extrinsic relief 
was precluded. He that is weary may 
throw away his book, or change his com- 
panion, or indulge meditation without 
the fear of vacancy ; but / could not. 
ilij/ labour must be without remission or 
variety, or my dejection without hope. 
How long I strove, and how sadly I de- 
sisted: — I even tried to form an inward 



conference, to raise objections, and to 
construct answers ; -but my powers of rea- 
soning sunk within me. I endeavoured to 
interest myself in the subject, to taste 
pleasure Vvhere I was conscious I had felt 
it before ; to believe important what I had 
often contended for as so ; but all w^as 
cold, shadowy, remote. I could bring 
nothing' into contact with my mind; yet 
1 felt that what interposed, I was interest- 
ed in keeping as remote as I could. At 
length I spake aloud to myself, in hopes 
of forcing attention and interest. I tried 
to assent, and object, and interrupt, with 
a sickly affectation of the warm and vivid 
debates of society. The accents faltered 
involuntarily on my tongue; and while I 
was apparently talking with eagerness, my 
eyes and mind were mechanically fixed on 
the door and windows, whose height was 
so remote, so unassailable. 

By design, I am convinced, the monk 
visited me but once a day ; but once a day 



had I the satisfaction of seeino: even that 
cheerless face, of hearing even that slow, 
unsolacincr tread. There is no tellins: with 
what delight I w^aited even that, and how 
I listened to hear the rusty w^ards long 
resisting the key, that I might longer feel 
the presence of a human creature (as 1 
believed) near me! — how I protracted the 
preparations for the meal he brought, that 
I might compel him to continue longer 
in my sight ! — how I multiplied questions, 
hopeless of answer, merely because it was 
more like human conference, to see the 
pei-son you spoke to ! — how I rose from 
my un tasted food to w^atch even his de- 
parting steps, and to pause, with piteous 
sagacity, whether it was the echo of the 
la.^t, or the last but one I heard ! But 
all this was tranquillity to what I under- 
went at night. During the day, I had 
the power of ranging through every part 
of my mind, and examining its gloomiest 
recesses without fear ; but the first sha- 


dow on the deep arches of my windows, 
was the signal for my shutting out every 
idea, wild, and solemn, and fantastic ; 
every thing that held alliance with such 
feelings as the place was ])ut too ready to 
suggest. I measured the narrow circle of 
my thoughts, with the fearful caution of 
one who steals along a passage with the 
apprehension that an assassin is about to 
rush on him at every turning. When the 
dark hour came, which no aid of artificial 
light, no lingerings of grateful shade made 
lovely, then I ceased to look around me ; 
for the dim forms so fixed by day, began 
to move in the doubtful light, and often 
I threw off my mantle, as I was wrap- 
ping it round my head, lest some other 
noise was couched in its rustling ; but 
thouirh the darkness around me was ever 
so deep, I felt there could be stillness 
without repose, and oppression without 
weariness. I could not sleep : 1 lay a- 
wake, to watch my thoughts, and to start 



with instinctive dread when any of them 
declined towards the circumstances of the 
last night. When I did doze, the habit 
was communicated to my sleep, and I 
started from my dreams when those 
images recurred in them. After the expe- 
rience of the first night, I determined to 
earn sleep, at least, by bodily fatigue. 
The limits of my room admitted of many 
modes of exercise, and I, you know, am 
stronsf and active. At everv hour, then, 
as nearly as I could guess, 1 rose to take 
exercise ; and Oh ! how dreary was it to 
rise to a solitary task! No stimulus of 
competition, of elastic spirits, any object 
proposed, or any prize held out, desired 
and contended for by others. I did rise 
and work myself into a fever of motion, 
I perceived, however, when I w\is in that 
tumultuous and bounding state, in which 
the movements are in a manner involun- 
tary, that mine all tended to climbing. 
Once I had scrambled up the rugged wall 
c 5 with 

34 FATAL revenge; OR, 

with amazing tenacity ; but I quitted m j 
hold as soon as 1 was conscious of it, for 
of such a means of escape I knew there 
was no hope. But when I ceased, (the 
motion given to the spirits and blood, by 
violent exercise, seems communicated to 
other objects ; and after it the performer 
looks around him, a consciousness o-f 
cheerfulness, that every thing else seems 
to partake — trees and fields dance and 
wave to the eye ; ) but when I had ceased 
there was no cheering voice. The echo 
of the noise I had made moaned long 
and heavily among the passages ; and the 
walls looked so still, so dark, so unmoved, 
as if they scowled contempt on the puny 
effort to escape even the thought of their 
influence, to make the movements of 
health and freedom in a prison. I look- 
ed around me dismayed. I almost ex- 
pected to hear a burst of ghastly laugh- 
ter break on my ear. I almost expected 
to see the forms of those (if there l^e 



such) who love to haunt and watch the 
miseries of a prison, to scare the short 
sleep of the captive, — to shape to him, 
in the darkness of his cell, forms that wait 
for the hour of rest to steal on him, — to 
send to his grating, the faces and whis- 
pers of those he loves, — and, wlien he 
starts from his straw, to thrust to the bars 
some mis-shapen visage that makes mock 
at him. Oil ! how pregnant with fearful 
imageiy is solitude ! At length, I be- 
thought myself of the resources I had read 
€)f others employing in lonely durance. 
The thought of the little personal appli- 
cation with which I had read them was 
bitter to me. Eut, on the third night, I 
began to notch a pannel in my door with 
my knife, with the number of days I had 
been confined: but when the thouoht of 
my being thus utterly a captive, of my 
being so soon compelled to tlie very habits 
and movements of those who have wasted 
years iu the sickness of deferred hope, the^ 



lingering death of protracted solicitude, — 
the knife fell from my hand, and I burst 
into tears. Oh ! let none talk, henceforth 
talk, of the powers of which the mind 
becomes conscious in solitude ; of the 
utility of seclusion, and the discoveries 
which an inward acquaintance delights us 
with. Solitary man is conscious of nothing 
but misery and vacancy; it is the prin- 
ciple hostile and loathsome to nature, the 
lethargy of life, the grave of mind. 

Such was the general state of my feelings 
during my confinement. On the eleventh 
night, when they supposed me subdued by 
weariness, or impatience of confinement, 
as I was composing myself to rest, I thought 
I Jieard n step. I started up in hope and 
fear; — it came near. No words can tell 
the state of mingled feeling with which 
I heard it certainly approach — saw light 
through the crevices of the door — heard 
the key turn in it — and its hinges grate. 



Freedom could hardly repay me for such a 
moment — it was my father ! 

He approached with a slow, and, I 
thought, a timid step, holding up the light 
he bore, and glancing his eye around wist- 
fully and intently. I thought I saw others 
without. When he spied me, he bore up 
proudly, and / endeavoured to rouse my- 
self to the conference. '' Annibal,'' said 
he, setting the light down, and fixing his 
eye on me, '' you find I am not to be 
provoked with impunity." " I find,'' said 
I, ^' you can at least punish without 
provocation, or wherefore am I here? — 
For visiting a part of my paternal habi- 
tation ? For going where I could nei- 
ther intrude nor alarm ?" " That it was 
my will these apartments should not be 
opened, should have been enough for 
you. From whom can I expect obe- 
dience, if my own children bribe my ser- 
vants to transgress my orders ? And what," 
said he, after a pause, " what have you 


38 FATAL revenge; or, 

gained by your rebellion ? What have you 
seen or done that was worth risking my 
displeasure ? Now^ is your curiosity gra- 
tified ? You have seen nothing but dust 
and decay — nothing but what any other 
ruin could shew you/' There w^as such 
an unnatural calmness in his voice, that 
I was roused from my sullen negligence. 
I looked up. His eye was bent on me 
with a look so peculiar, as recalled at 
once his last words, and unfolded their 
meaning. I conceived at once that these 
questions were suggested to discover 
what 1 had seen and done, and discover- 
ed ; whether I had found any thing which 
other ruins do not always conceal. 

The discovery, that he was come, not to 
pity or to liberate, but to sift and examine 
one whom he believed confinement had 
tamed and enfeebled, at once depressed and 
strengthened me. My whole mind was rous- 
ed and revolted by this treachery. He ap- 
peared to me not as a father, but an as- 


sassin, taking every advantage of a dis- 
armed victim ; and I determined to resist 
him^vith every remaining power, and send 
him back, abashed and defeated. Nor was 
I without hope of retaliating on him ; for 
I had often heard of discoveries wiiich it 
was the labour of thought to conceal^ being 
made in the sudden confusion of rage, or 
the answer to an unexpected reply. 

" Whatever discoveries I made/' said 
I, '^ I should at least suppose your lord- 
ship was not interested in, and therefore 
could not suppose them the cause of your 
displeasure."' ''You have then made dis- 
coveries," said he, impatiently, ''and why 
is it presumed that I am not interested in 
them ?" "I should at least hope you were 
not/' said I, with malicious pleasure ; " but 
as your lordship has informed me there 
were no discoveries to be made — that I 
could see nothing more than what other 
ruins might contain, I must imagine that all 
1 beheld was either an illusion or a trifle, 
and in either how can you be interested ?" 



His eye kindled^ and his lip shook, 
'' Insolent wretch, you mock me ; you 
exult in rebellion, because you ima- 
gine my power of punishing exhausted ; 
but you are deceived. I have other ter- 
rible means — others that you dream not 
of. Drive me not to resort to them. 
Remember they will not be temporary, 
for they are not employed to extort con- 
fession, but to punish obstinacy. No; 
I need not your confession, foolish boy — I 
know every thing you can know^ and an ex- 
planation of them which you do not know ; 
but I wish you to confess, that I may have 
an excuse for forgiving you, and remit- 
ting your punishment. Tell me, there- 
fore, how often you went with that lying 
dotard, whom death has fortunately shel- 
tered from my resentment — tell me what 
he said to you, and what he shewed you — 
tell me'^ 

He stopped, as if he was betraying 

his expectation of too much. The im- 

1 pulse 


impulse I felt at that moment I could 
not resist. I sat up, and fixing my eyes 
on him, '' If I told you," said I, " you 
would either aggravate my confinement, 
or place me where there is a quiet ex- 
emption from all pain." But when the 
impulse was gratified, I felt that what I 
had said was dangerous and foolish ; and 
I withdrew my eyes from him in con- 
fusion, " If," said he, in the voice of 
one determined to sacrifice his passions to 
his object, " if I am thus formidable, 
why do you not fear me ? nor would you 
fear me in vain. Reflect how extensive 
my power is, and reflect you are within 
it. The resistance you have hitherto been 
enabled to make, you falsely ascribe to 
an imaginary strength of mind and prin- 
ciple, which, you conceive, no trial can 
subdue. Believe me, it is only owing to 
your trial having been not yet severe: 
(my heart sunk within me) you have 
been nursed in luxury, Annibal, and in 



the indulgence of a romantic spirit of 
contemplative seclusion. For you, there- 
fore, solitude has no pains, while unac- 
companied by those privations that ought 
to mark it as a state of punishment. 
While your food is plenteous and pala- 
table, and your means of rest and warmth 
commodious, solitude will be employed 
to subdue you in vain. But if these sti- 
mulants of fictitious courage be w^ith- 
drawn ; if light, and warmth, and ample 
space, and liberty be denied you, you 
will find the courage which you imagin- 
ed the permanent offspring of principle, 
the short-lived dependant of local causes, 
too mean to enter into the account of 
the high motives of a hero in chains." 

My heart sunk within me as he spake. 
How keenly true was his remark ! how su- 
perfluously cruel his irony ! Oh ! it is easy 
to resist those who are armed only with 
the common weapons of infliction ; whose 
blows can be calculated and averted ; who 



Strike at parts that are exposed to and 
prepared for common and daily assault. 
But when the torturer approaches you, 
armed with a superior knowledge of your 
nature; when he knows exactly what 
nerve will answer with the keenest vi- 
bration of pain ; what recess of weakness 
you most wush guarded and concealed, 
what are the avenues and accesses to all 
the most intimate and vital seats of suf- 
fering ^*n your nature — then, then is the 
pain — then is the hopeless fear — the de- 
spairing submission. Such I felt, yet 
such I still wished to conceal. 

" I know you/* said I, ^' to have great 
power, and 1 believe you to have no mercy. 
Yet still I think I am not destitute of re- 
sources. My mind is yet unbroken, my re- 
sentment of oppression is inveterate, and 
my conscience is void of offence. This is 
my great stay and grasp. I will not declaim 
about the delights of innocence in a dun- 
geon; 'tis ridiculous, and unlike nature. 

I shall 


I shall probably undergo much ; but what 
1 shall undergo will, I am convinced, be 
rendered tolerable by the great aids I 
have mentioned. I will not sleep better 
on flint than on down ; but, till my 
health is destroyed, I shall sleep calmly ; 
nor will I be afraid, as long as my dim light 
lasts, to look into the nooks and hollows 
of my dungeon, rude and dark as they may 
be ; nor, when I lie down, to listen to the 
changeful moanings of the wind, through 
its passages ; to me it can tell nothing 
worse, than that the night will be dark and 
cold." As I spoke, a hollow blast shook 
the door, and made the light blaze bicker- 
ing and wide. 

'' Will that be all?" said my father, 
in a voice that struggled to be free, 
*' Are you sure of this ?" "1 will look 
around me," said I ; for my impulse to 
speak was strong and elevating, " even 
with sport on the fantastic things which 
darkness and my weak clouded sight will 



shape out on the walls of my prison — - 
perhaps my grave." The images were 
with me as I spake, and I wept a few 
tears, not dejected/ but sad and earnest. 
/'Fantastic/' he murmured inwardly, 
*' do you call forms like these fantastic ?" 
*' What forms?" said I starting in my 
turn. I looked up. His eyes wandered 
wildly round the chamber. He extended 
his arm, and again drew it back. He re- 
ceded on one foot, alrno t shrinking with- 
in himself, and declining till he pressed 
on me. " What is it you watch/' said ^^ 
'^ with such gesture?" bending forward 
with strange expectation. '' Have you 
eyes, and do not see it ? 'tis you have 
done this ; you have brought it here. Why 
will you talk of these things ; their men- 
tion always does this." He reached his 
hand backward to grasp my arm, not for 
observation, but support — pointing with 
the other, and carrying it slowly round 
with the viiiionary motion he beheld. I 
was chilled with horror. It was the first 


45 FATAL revenge; or, 

time I had ever truly beheld a being la- 
bouring under the belief of the actual 
presence of a spiritual nature. My eyes 
followed his involuntarily, but I could see 
nothing but the dark hollow extremities 
of the room, darker from the dimness 
that came over me at that moment. 

'' Beckon not thus/' he continued to 
murmur ; '' this is not the spot — no — y;ou 
cannot shew it — here, in this room, I am 

Something too ghastly to be called 
a smile, war> spread over his face. *' In 
the name of all that is holy, whom 
do you talk loo, or what do you point 
at ?" " Who is near me," said he ? ''Ha ! 
Annibal, why do you grasp my arm thus ? 
What is it you look at so fixedly ? there is 
nothing there — nothing, believe me." "I 
see nothing/^ sadi, " but your language 
has amazed me/' '^ Then look another 
way — you see there is nothing — I stretch 
out my arm, you see, and nothing meets 
it; but the shadows of these old rooms 



will offen shape themselves into strange 
array." He passed his hand once or twice 
over my forehead. ^' Annibal, when my 
spirits are thus wrought, I will some- 
times talk wildly. You must not heed 
me, or if you do, set it down to the ac- 
count of the anxiety you have caused 
me ; and let that operate with other con- 
siderations on your compliance. Annibal, 
disclose to me what you have seen and 

I was amazed and even incensed at 
a man's thus turning from the fearful 
punishment of guilt, to secure its con- 
cealment by the most abject wiles. I 
I could not conceal my indignation. '' I 
have seen and heard," said I, fervently, 
'^ but now what confirms all my former 
discoveries.'* These strong words roused 
hiin, at once from his ghastly abstraction, 
" Dare you," said he, sternly, " dare you 
persist in this mockery of suspicion and 
insult : mockery it must be — you impose 
on your own credulity — you falsify your 


4s FATAL revenge; OR, 

own ronvictions, that you may persecute 
and slander me : — you have no proofs — 
what you have seen in the tower would 
not be admitted as such by any but a 
wild and wicked mind, that would sooner 
accuse a parent mentally of murder, than 
want food for its frantic rage for disco- 
veries.'* '' You accuse me unjustly/' 
said r, amazed at the distinctness of his 
references, but willing to avail myself of 
his apparent vs ish to expostulate : *' what 
I have discovered was revealed to me by a 
train of events which I could neither 
control nor conjecture the issue of. By 
Heaven, I followed the pursuit with shrink- 
ing and reluctance, with more than the 
fears of nature, with a gloominess of 
presage and conviction, that 1 fear its 
consequences will verify on my head. 

The sights I beheld'' " Sights!'* 

he interrupted, '' there was but one — 
curse on the folly that tempted me to 
expose even that one. But who could 



have thought that cursed prying dotard 
would lead you to tlie very spot." All 
this was said v»ith sixh involuntary quick- 
ness, I am persuaded he no more imagined 
I heard him, than a man does, who acci- 
dentally answers his own thoughts aloud; 
but every word came to me as loud and 
distinct as if he had been bent to force 
their meaning on me. I believe he saw 
horror in my face; for starting back, he 
-said in a rage, '' Your aspect is horrible 
to me; you would blast me with your 
eyes if you could. There is an expres- 
sion in them, worse than those that glared 
on me just now. What m.atters it, that 
you and they are silent, when ye can look 
such things. But you are not as they are. 
No^ vcu I can lay hold on, and com- 
pel to stay, and to suffer. And remember, 
in this contest of persecution, you will 
fare the worst. I have means of infliction 
beyond all thought, beyond all belief. 
The spirit that resisted darkness and soli- 
voL. ir, » tude^ 


tude, may be bowed to scorn and debase- 
ment. — Wretch, you know nothalfmy pow- 
er. You know not that I am in possession 
of a secret, the disclosure of which would 
send you forth a vagabond and a beg- 
gar, without name, and without port'on ; 
scorn hooting at your heels, and famine 
pointing your forward view : that I have 
no tie to you, but a foolish one of habi- 
tual compassion : that to-night I might 
thrust you from my doors to want and 
infamy." ^'To want you might, but not 
to infamy. I would to heaven you 
would avow this secret, and thrust m.e 
out, as you threaten. Infamy may attach 
to me while bearing your name, and 
living in your crested and turretted 
slaughter-house ; but were I suffered to 
make my own name, and establish my own 
character, I would ask only my honest 
heart, my strong hands, the sword you 
have deprived me of, and this precious 
picture^ to animate me with noble 



thought," — In the enthusiasm of speaking, 
I drew the picture from my breast, f 
kissed it, and my hot tears fell on it. 
He bent over to see it, carelessly 1 be- 
lieve; but, heavenly powers, what was 
the effect ! The visa<re with which a 
moment past he had beheld, or imagined 
he beheld, the form of the dead, was 
pleased and calm, compared to the ex- 
pression of mixt and terrible emotion ! 
The horror and wild joy ! The eagerness, 
and the despair with which he gazed on 
it for a moment, and then tried to tear it 
from me! — ''Where! — ^How, by what, 
what spell, w^hat v>itchery, did you 
obtain possession of this ? Give it to 
me. I must have it. — Tis mine. Wretch, 
how did you daie ? — Youfept it to blast 
and distract me. Struggle not with me, 
I would rend it from a famished wolf 
^' You shall not rend it from me, " said I, 
holding it tenaciously; '' it has been my 
companion in freedom and peace, it shall 
r> Q not 

^mERSlTY Of 


FATAL revenge; OR, 

not be torn from me in prison ; I care 
not who sees it, or knows how I obtained 
it; I copied it from a picture in that tow- 
er ; the original is in my heart ; the cho- 
sen and future mistress of it. I have 
vowed to seek her through the world, and 
I will keep my vow, if ever I leave this 
place with life." '' Miserable boy, misera- 
ble, if this be true, you know not what 
you say.'* He smote his hands twice or 
thrice with a look of distraction, and spoke 
evidently without fear and restraint. '' My 
crimes have cursed the world. The poi- 
son flows down to the skirts of our cloth- 
ing. Beings of another generation shall 
lay their load of sin on my head. Anni- 
bal, Annibal, hear my words ; you have 
sunk my soul within me ; who but you has 
seen me thus humbled ? I speak not in 
passion or revenge ; such revenge as your 
ill-fated passion might prepare for me, t 
shudder to think of I do not wish to 
plunge your soul into utter ^^ndcmna- 



tion. Annibal, should you ever see the 
original of this picture, fly from her, 
from her abode, her touch, her sight ; 
should her thought ever visit you, banish 
h as you would the hauntings of an evil 
spirit, as the tempting whisper of Satan 
himself; when it besets you, go to some 
holy man, and let him teach you penance 
and prayer of virtue to drive it utterly 
from your — remember this is the warning 
of him, who warns vou in no weakness 
of love. *' He paused, for he was hoarse 
with eagerness. '' Annibal, let me look 
on it, I pray you, let me look on that 
face, Annibal, 'tis but once more. I see 
it so often in flames and horrors, I would 
fain see it in peace, with the smile of life 
on it/' He spoke this with the dreadful 
calmness of habitual suffering. I held it 
to him with a cautious hand. ^'^ Poor 
Erminia," he murmured inwardly ; and 
looked at it with that piteous and an- 
guished tenderness, w^ith which we look 


54 FATA J. KEVIXGi:; o~j^, 

on those, whose likeness recals (heir suf- 
ferings. " Pocr Erminij," he continued 
to exclaim and to gaze. In the interval^, 
I recovered my breath and my thoughts. 
*' U," said I, scarcely hoping an answer 
" the original be no more, what have 
I to dread from one Avho but resembles 
her ? The original is dead, and in her 
grave ; and I am to fly from her sha- 
dow." *' No, no," said he in a low voice^ 
'' she is not in her grave."' Again I per- 
ceived bis eye fixing with that nameless 
and horrid vacancy, that bespeaks the pre- 
sence of an object, invisible to the com- 
mon organs of sight ! Again, my blood 
ran cold. '' I adjure vou," said 1, rising 
and holding hirn firmly, " I adjure you, 
be not thus moved again; I cannot bear 
the sight of it. Your attendants are 
without ; go hence, before it overcomes 
you. I cannot bear it. I am a captive, 
a lone, fearful being. — ^Your ghastly face 
will be with me in every corner; it will 



bein my dreams." I couid not move him. 
His limbs appeared stiffened and wound 
up ; and the strong fixedness of his eye^, 
nothing could turn away. He appeared 
to talk with earnest gesture to some- 
thin 2: that stood between him and the 
door; but his words were lost in inarti- 
culate murmurs as he attempted to speak. 
My eyes followed his to the same spot ; 
but though sharpened with fear almost 
to agony, they could distinguish nothing. 
"Aye/' said he, in that low, peculiar voice, 
** I see it well enough ! Ye are not of this 
element ! But now ye rose from under 
my feet ; and now ye muster round that 
door! — Not gone yet — nor yet! — No, 
they are larger — darker — wilder!" He 
paused, but his terrors did not remit, nor 
could I speak. Then he added, in a 
deeper tone, with solemn enthusiasm, " If 
ye indeed are real forms, that come with 
power, and for a definite purpose, stand, 
and I will meet you ; will meet you as I 
D 5 may 

66 FATAL kevekge; gh 

iBay ; for this hollow nodding and beck- 
oning cannot be borne ! Stand there, 
and bear up to me visibly ; and I will try 
whether ye are truly as ye seem. 1 will 
meet you ! — Now! — Now^ \" He seized a 
light in each hand, and rushed furiously to 
the door. " Gone, gone ! I will gaze no 
longer, lest some other shape rise up be- 
fore ine." As he retreated, he said, ''By 
heaven, they hear me without — they 
laugh at my folly — and you laugh, too, re- 
bellious v/retch ! 'Tis you have brought 
me to this ; your unnatural persecutions 
have subdued m.e to this weakness.'* He 
quitted the room, leaving with me a con- 
viction that the plans of guilt are often 
frustrated by its terrors ; and its cowardice 
is an abundant balance for its malignity. 
But. all the use of this lesson v/as in 
the [earful recollections that accompa- 
nied it. If the purport of his visit was 
to puniiih, it was indeed fulfilled. The 
terrible spectacle of a being writhing 



under the commission, or the conscious- 
ness of a crime, oppressed my mind, al- 
most as if I had been an agent in it : every 
wind that night brought to my ear, that 
low, strange voice in which he talked, 
as he believed, with beings not of this 
world; his wild, pale face was with me 
when I shut my eyes, when I opened 
them, it glided past me in the darkness ; 
when I slept, I saw it in my dreams; but 
*\\oy came in the morning;" such joy, 
as no morning^ had brousfht to me since 
mj coniinement. Under the conduct of 
the m.onk, I was removed from that dreary 
room, and placed in another, in the same 
tower I conjectured, but more light and 
spacious ; and, for greater indulgence, 
to my continued importunities, I received 
for answer, I should be supplied with 

When he departed to fulfil his promise, 
I felt as if a new sense had been commu- 
nicated to me; a new light of hojpe had 
5 fallen 


fallen upon life. There is no telling the 
freshness and novelty of my joy on the 
possession of this long-withheld resource, 
which 1 wondered I had ever thrown aside 
in neglect, or in vacancy, or in caprice ; 
which I wondered any one could believe 
himself unhappy, that was permitted to 
possess ; which, above all, I wondered I 
had never felt the full value of, till that 
moment. During the hour that the 
monk delayed, I was too happy to glance 
at the probability of disappointment. I 
experienced a thousand glad and busy 
feelings. With the benevolence of joy. 
I wished I could communicate my frame 
of mind to the loungers, who yawn over 
untasted libraries, to those whose eyes 
wander over a book, without a conscious- 
ness of their contents. To me, my ap- 
proaching employment seemed inex- 
haustable; 1 remembered the time, 
when I repined if I had not several books 
to make a selection from; but now, c>//(? 



appeared sufficient for the occupation of 
the whole day. 

I can pause, said I^ over every sentence, 
and though its meaning be nothing new^ 
or peculiar, to think on it will waken some 
corresponding train of thought within 
me; I shall arrive at some discovery, some 
new combination, orresemblance in objects 
unnoticed before; at least, the pursuit 
will amuse me. I shall be intently, delight- 
fully employed ; and when I turn from my 
excursion of thought, to see I have yet 
so many pages to read; yet such a strong 
aid to interpose between me and the feel- 
ings of solitude, and the hour of darkness. 
Thouo'h readin": had never been attended 
with such consequences, still my percep- 
tions were so new, that I was confident I 
would enjoy all this, and more, on the pos- 
session of this new treasure, and I deter^ 
mined to husband my store with judicious 
economy, not to suffer my eye to wander 
over a single page carelessly; I determine 



ed to pause and to reflect, to taslte and to 
digest with epicurean slowness. I almost 
wished my powers of intelligence were 
slower, that I might be compelled to ad- 
mit more tardily, and to retain longer. 
At length, it came — ^the treasure — a sin- 
.gle book — it was a library to mc ; I scarce- 
ly waited to thank my grim attendant. I 
opened the book, and the delusion va- 
nished. So vehement was my literary ap- 
petite, and so long had been my famine, 
that I could no more restrain it, than the 
fiow of a torrent; I hurried at once into 
the middle of my scanty repast, and found 
myself nearly half through it, before the 
execution of my deliberate plan would 
have permitted me to travel over a page. 
V/hen ail was finished, (early in the day) 
I reflected I had yet to read it over again ; 
and I l)egan again, but soon found that 
my pleasure was diminished, even beyond 
the power of repetition to diminish it ; 
the mieasiness of a tasl v/as over me ; I 



felt that I must do this to enjoy tranquilli- 
ty. I could not raise my eyes with the 
happy vacancy of one, who knew he 
was not helplessly bound to a single re- 
source ; I knew what I was doing, I 
must persist doing, even in default of at- 
tention and pleasure, and therefore, I did 
it irksomely. Besides, as darkness was 
coming on, many passages of a visionary 
tendency, on which in the tumult ofm.y 
fii*st pleasure, and in the broad light of day, 
I had dwelt with peculiar satisfaction, I 
did not like venturing on now ; and they 
presented themselves to me on the open- 
ing of a page ; 1 scudded over them with 
a quick, timid eye, as if I feared they 
would assume some stronger characters 
while I viewed them. 

On the whole, I even £dt my positive 
pleasure less than I expected ; my ideas 
were too confused and rapid for pleasure. 
I went on with blind admiration, and 
childish giddiness^ swallowing passage af- 
ter passage, without pause or discrimina- 

&^ FATAL revenge; OR, 

tion. But even to reflect on this, afford^ 
ed me employment^ and employment was 
my object; of this I had abundance; the 
confusion of my ideas 'would not permit 
me to sleep ; I turned from side to side ; 
still I was repeating to myself passages I 
had readj and still I observed that those 
recurred which had interested me least. 
In a short time, all recollections became 
weary and tasteless to me from my fever- 
ish restlessness^ and 1 heartily wished it 
all banished. When the castle bell tolled 
twelve, I listened with a momentary re- 
lief to the echoes, to the long deep echoes 
as they died away ; the very recesses of 
my chamber seemed to answer them, and 
as they rolled off, T seemed to feel them 
spreading above, below, around ; I listen- 
ed to them, till my own fancy filled up the 
pause of sound. Would that it had never 
left my ears. At that moment, a voice, in 
strong, distinct human sounds, shrieked, 
murder, murder, murder ! thrice, so near, 



that it seemed to issue from the very wall be- 
side me. I cannot tell you the effect of this 
cry; whatever disposition I might have felt 
to assist the sufferer, to shout aloud in a voice 
of encouragements to lament my confine- 
ment, and to tell them a human being who 
heard and pitied them, was so near, was 
al Irepelled by a sudden and inexpress- 
ible conviction, that the sounds I heard 
were not uttered by man. Whence this 
arose I cotild not explain, I could not 
examine ; it would not be resisted, it 
would not be removed. It chained me 
up in silence; 1 could neither communi- 
cate, nor inquire into it. I could not 
even speak to my warden about it ; I felt 
all day like a man, upon whose peace some 
secret is preying. I looked in deep op- 
pression around me, on the walls and win- 
dows, and dark corners of my room, as if 
they possessed a consciousness of what 
they had heard ; as if they could pour out 
and unfold the terrible sounds they had 


64 FATAL i^evenge; oe, 

swallowed. In the midst of this dejection 
I recollected my book; I took it up, and 
with diligence that deserved a better re- 
ward, I read every syllable of it again, 
and paused over the very expletives with 
a superstitious minuteness, that made me 
smile when I discovered it. But it would 
not do. All power of feeling pleasure 
had ceased. I was like the vulgar, who, 
when they are affected with any malady, 
complain that it is lodged in the heart ; 
all the attention I could bestow still left 
a dull sense of inward uneasiness, which 
I could no4^ remove, and feared even to 
advert to. But long before night, I had 
finished even my book ; still I was re- 
solved not to be '' tormented before the 
time ;" I resolved by ever^/ or any act of 
exclusion, to keep the idea of what I had 
heard away, till midnight, till I could 
keep it away no longer. Oh, you have 
never known the sickly strivings of soli- 
tude ! to dispose my scanty furniture in 

a thousand 


a thousand shapes^ the most distinct from 
use that can be conceived; to endeavour 
to walk up and down the room^ confining 
my steps to one seam in the flooring ; and 
when they tottered from its narrowness, 
to look bchindj lest some strange hand 
was pushing me from my way ; to trace 
the "winding veins in ths old wainscot, 
that amused and pained me with a re- 
semblance to the branching of trees and 
shrubs ; to follow them where they could 
be seen, and feel them where they could 
not — these were the wretched resources 
of a situation that demands variety, yet 
deprives the spirits of all power as well 
^s means to exercise it ; and these wretch- 
ed resources were a relief in the horrible 
state of my mind; nor could even that re- 
lief be long enjoyed. 

The hour came. For many minutes I 
remained silent, gasping, as if I was 
watching for the sound 1 dreaded. My 
book was open before me. I did not see a 



word in it. I Mt the slow, yet progres- 
sive motion that brings you nearer an 
object of horror. 1 felt my hairs rising 
up. I felt my pores open, and the cold, 
creeping consciousness of the thing we 
cannot name, spreading over me. I heard 
a hissing in my ears. My eyes were 
involuntarily distended. I felt as if all 
the dark powers were invisibly, but per- 
ceptibly close to me — just preparing tobe* 
gin their work — just in the intense silence 
of preparation. The hand of a little time- 
piece, that had been brought to me, mo- 
ved stilly on. Worlds would I have given 
for a sound when I saw it just touching 
on the hour. The castle bell tolled. It 
was but a moment ; for I could have 
borne it no longer; and the voice again 
shrieked, murder ! It was, if possible, 
more horrible than the preceding night ; 
there was more of humam suffering in it 
— more of the voice of a man who feels 
the fingers of a murderer on his very 




fhroat ; who cries with the strength of 
agonVj stronger than nature ; who pours 
ail his dying force into the sound that 
is the last living voice he shall utter. 
Even he who heai-s such a sound feels 
not what I did. Man^ the actual sight of 
man^ in the most dreadful circumstances 
in which man can behold or imagine him, 
is nothing to the bare fear, the suspicion, 
the doubt, that there is a being near 
you, not of this world. Between us and 
them there is a great gulph fixed, on the li- 
mits of which to glance or to totter, is more 
terrible to nature than all corporeal suf- 
ferance. Of this mysterious sensation it 
is impossible to describe the quality 
or the degree. Its darkness, its remote- 
ness, itsshapelessness, constitute its power 
and influence. Whether my mind 
was wearied by its own motions, I do 
not know ; but I soon fell into a deep 
sleep. I know not how I w^as awakened ; 
but I recollect it w^as so suddenly and tho- 


roughly, that I started up as I awoke, 
and became sensible in a moment. 
The monk was sitting opposite me. 
He sat at the table, on v/hich stood the 
time- piece and the lamp. His head rested 
on his hands, and he watched the time- 
piece in silence. My recollection came 
to me at once, and fully. I felt that at 
such an hour, such a visitor could have 
but one purpose. Oh ! w^ho can tell the 
gush of horror that comes to the heart of 
the being that, lone and helpless, is wa- 
kened at midnight, and sees around the. 
hard blank v/alls of his prison, and, be- 
side him, the face of his murderer, pale 
with unnatural thought, by his dim lamp- 

I sat up with the impulse, but not the 
power of resistance. 1 gazed on him 
earnestly. lie neither raised hii? head 
nor spake. I was amazed by his silence^ 
It seemed to cast a spell over me. I 
had no power to break it. I could not 



speak to him; yet my eyes remained 
fixed, and my thoughts seemed rapid in 
proportion to my inability to utter them. 
A thousand causes for his silence were 
suggested to me. Ke might be waiting 
the arrival of some assistant^ who was to 
overpower my struggles, or help to thrust 
my corpse into some dark, remote hole, 
where no search would ever follov/ or 
find me; where the fcot of a brother 
might tread over my dust, without a sus- 
picion of my fate. Perhaps he was a- 
waiting a signal to rush on me ; perhaps, 
till s®me new and horrible means of 
death should be brought in, and adan- 
nistered to me ; perhaps — that v/as the 
worst of all — some such means had al- 
ready been applied, in my food, n)r while 
I slept ; and he v/as come to watch its 
operation, to witness the bitterness of 
death, the twisted eye, the writhing fea- 
ture, the straining muscle, without giv- 

70 FATAL kevenge; or., 

ing the aid which all that retain the 
shape of man alike expect and afford. 

While these thoughts were yet in their 
height, the hand of the time piece point- 
ed to one. The monk extended his hand 
to it —it touched it — and he raised his 
head. " Now I may speak/' said he, 
fixing his large heavy eyes on me. My 
former suspicion recurred. " Then/' said 
I, '' I shall know my fate. Oh ! I feel that 
you are come to announce it ; I feel that 
you are come to murder me." He waved 
his hand with a melancholy motion. I 
had but one construction for all his mo- 
tions. '' Speak/' said I, " I conjure you ; 
your eye is dark^ and I fear to read it, 
or look into it. What is your pur- 
pose ?" '' Death/' said the monk: — 
" Then I am to be murdered, murdered 
in this dark hole, without a chance, or 
struggle, or straw to grasp at for life } 
Oh! merciful Heaven, Oh!" ^' What is 



it you fear?'* said the monk rising: — 
*' my business is death ; but not yours. 
What do you fear ? Look at this hand; 
years have passed since it held a wea- 
pon ; years have passed since blood has 
flowed in its veins." I looked at his hand. 
1 involuntarily touched it. It was deadly 
cold. I was silent^ and awaited some ex- 
planation of his appearance or his words. 
" My business is death ; a business long 
deferred^ longun finished. Under its pres- 
sure I have been called up, and kept wan- 
dering for many years, without hope, and 
without rest. I have had many pilgrimages 
without companion or witness : no one 
knew me, or sought my name or purpose. 
But my term is closing, and m.y task 
will soon be finished ; for now I am 
permitted to come to you, and speak to 
you.'' He spoke so slowly that I had. 
time to collect myself I marvelled at 
his strange language. '' I know not what 
it is you mean, nor to what business 



you allude/' said I. <' If my senses are 
not impaired^ you are Father Schemoli, 
the coHipanioii of my father.** " I am/' 
said he, in a peculiar tone, '' I am your 
father's constant companion'' '' I know 
you well ; you look pale and strange 
by this dim light, yet I know you. But 
what is the purport of your appearance 
at this hour, or of the words you have 
uttered, I know not." '' And do you 
only know me as Father Schemoli ? 
Have you seen me under no other ap- 
pearance ? Do you remember the last 
time you saw me ?*' '*^ I remember it 
well : it was in the west tower ; you bore 
the light ; you accompanied my father; 
I remember you well." '' Had you ne- 
ver seen me there before?" "Never; 
whatever I suspected, I never saw you 
there before." '' Beware — beware. What 
spectacle did you behold there, buried and 
mouldering in one of the passages ?*" 
** I saw a terrible sight there," said I, 

shuddering ; 


shuddering ; '' but it was removed ori 
my last unlucky visit to that place/- 
" No; you saw it, though in ^aiother 
form — saw it as plain as you see me 
now." " I know not what you mean. 
Your voice chills ine, but I do not un- 
derstand you. '' " You will not understand 
me ; look on my eyes, my features, my 
limbs," said he, rising, and spreading him- 
self out, " the last time you beheld them, 
they were fleshless, decayed, and thrust 
in a noisome nook ; yet still the strength 
of their moulding, and shape, and cha- 
racter, might strike an eye that was less 
quick, and gazed not so long as yours.'' 
As he spoke — was it fancy, or the very 
witchery of the time and place ? — his 
eyes, his mouth, his nostrils, all the hol- 
lows of his face became deeper and 
darker ; as the sickly glare of the lamp 
fell on the skin of his shorn head, it looked 
tense and yellow, like the bones of a skull, 
and the articulations of the large joints of 
VOL. II. E his 

74 FATAL revenge; or, 

his up-spread hands, seemed so distinct 
and bare, as if the flesh had shrunk from 
them. I swallowed down something that 
seemed to w^ork up my throat, and I tried 
to resist the effect of his words and ap- 
pearance ; for it outraged my belief and 
my senses to a degree that no local ter- 
rors, no imposition, or fantasy of fear 
could justify. " Is this mockery or frenzy ? 
Is it my ears or eyes you would abuse ? 
If I understand you, you mean something 
that could not be imposed on the belief 
of a child, or of superstition itself. You 
would make me believe, that you, whom 
I have seen exercise all the functions, 
whom I have seen going in and out a- 
mongst us, are a being who has been dead 
for years — that you now inhabit another 
form — that the flesh which I felt a mo- 
ment past is not substantial. Do you 
think that durance and hardship have de- 
based me to such weakness ? Do you 
believe my mind cramped and shackled 



like my body ? Or, do you believe, even 
if it were, that my senses are thus en- 
feebled and destroyed— that I cannot 
hear, and see, and feel, and judge of the 
impressions objects ought to make on 
those senses, as well as if it were not 
now midnight, and in this dark hold, and 
by this single dim light ? Away ! 1 am 
not so enfeebled yet." He heard me 
calmly. " You, who wish to judge only 
by the evidence of your senses, why do 
you not consult that of your hearing 
better ? Have you never heard this voice 
before? and where have you heard it ?'* 
'' Yes," said T, with that solemnity of 
feeling which enforces truth from the 
speaker, " Yes, I feel I have ; but whe- 
ther my perceptions are confused by 
fear, or my memory indistinct, I cannot 
recal when. I hear it like a voice I have 
heard in a dream, or like those sounds 
which visit us in darkness, and mingle 
with the wind; yet I feel also it is not 
E 2 the 

76 FATAL eevenge; or, 

the voice with which you speak in the 

I was gazing at him while I spake, 
as if I could find any resemblance in his 
face, that could assist me to recal the 
former tones of his voice. He fixed him- 
self opposite to me — he turned his eye 
full on me. " What voice/' said he, '' was 
that which bore witness to Michelo's fears 
in the west turret, that your father's 
"cengeaiice was terrible ? \Vhat voice pass- 
ed you on the winds of darkness, when 
you watched at the tomb of Orazio ^ 
What voice rung in the ears of the dying 
man, ' Woe and death,' when you knelt 
beside his bed } What voice shrieks, 
' Murder,' every night, from a depth ne- 
ver measured even by the thought of man 
since these walls were raised ? Is it not 
the voice which speaks to you now ?" His 
voice had been progressively deepening 
till its sounds were almost lost ; but in the 
last question it pierced my very sense 



M ith its loudness. His form was outspread, 
and almost floating in the darkness. The 
light only fell on his hands, that were 
extended and almost illuminated. All the 
rest was general and undefined obscurity, 
I was lost in wonder and fear, such as can 
only be felt by those who suddenly find 
their secrets in possession of another ; 
who fmd all that they had thought im- 
portant to acquire or to conceal, the sport 
of another, who sports with it and them. 
" Blessed Virgin ! who are you ? where 
were you concealed ? how did you follow 
me ? who uttered these sounds, or if it 
was you — ?'* " You cannot Jidmit things 
that would outrage the credulity of an 
infant^ or of superstition ; you cannot 
believe that I have assumed other forms 
than that I now bear; you are prepared 
with your reasons, and your answers, and 
your arguments, physical and sage, and 
able to solve all appearances and objects 
you may witness." Hepursuedderisively — 

" You 

78 FATAL llEVENGi; OTij 

^' You can tell me, then, what form 
every night visits the burial-place in the 
old chapel ? Whom did \ou behold when 
vou ventured into the vault ? Whom did 
vou see in the passages of the west 
tower ? Who ^vaved the shadowy arm, 
and pointed the eye of life from the dead 
wall on you ? Who shut, and you could 
not open, the door of the vault ? Who, 
Avhen I discovered your pretence for 
breaking into the secrets of the dead, 
was but a w-eak and unhallowed curiosity 
— who renioved with steps not unseen, 
from that tower, to the dark and un- 
blessed lair, from which my cry every 
night reaches your ears ? And if you can- 
not tell this, what is he who can }" 

When 1 heard these w^ords, fear, and 
every other sentiment they might have 
inspired, were lost in the prospect they 
opened of satisfying my doubts, my 
wonder, my long, restless, unsatcd curio- 
sity. I cannot tell you the effect this 



enumeration^ so distinct, so well-remem- 
bered in its parts, produced en me. The 
predominant feeling of my nature revived 
and arose within me. Images so remote, 
so obscure, never recalled without per- 
plexity and doubt, were now w^ith me 
as if just bursting into light. A hundred 
inquiries were on my tongue, a liundred 
wishes were in my heart. 1 was all rest- 
less, glowing expectation. Who, to see 
my ardent eyes (for I felt them kindle 
in their sockets) and out-spread hands, 
who could have believed I was addressing 
such a being — a being formed, in his most 
favourable aspect, to repel, not to at- 
tract ; and now arrayed and aggravated 
in the mist, and dimness, and shapeless 
terrors of a supernatural agent. 

'' Have you indeed this knowledge ? 
Are you indeed the being Michelo's sus- 
picions pointed to, and my own hopes, 
and fears, and doubts have so long been 
seeking ? Can you make these rough 



places, I have wandered on so long, plain 
to me ? Shall my feet stumble on the 
dark mountains no longer ? Will you tell 
me all — all I wish to know — all (you 
can discover) I want to know ? If you 
can do this, I will believe you, I will 
worship you, and revere you. Take me 
but out of this house of darkness, and 
durance, and guilt ; give me but to know 
what it has been the torment and the 
business of my existence to know; let 
me learn if I am the dupe of fear and 
credulity ; or, as a better confidence has 
sometimes whispered, set apart for some- 
thing great, and high, and remote; let 
me know this, and I will bind myself tp 
your service, 1 will, by all that is sacred, 
I will bind myself by some tie and 
means so awful, that even you, with all 
your awfulness of character and purpose, 
shall hold it as sacred, and tremble to hear 

In the eagerness of speaking, I did not 



perceive my declining lamp. I was drawn 
to it by his eye. '' You do not speak/' 
said I, '' my lamp is going out. Oh ! 
speak before it goes out ; for then, per- 
haps, I shall tremble to hear your voice, 
and wish you away ; speak, I conjure 
you : it is a dreadful thing to be left in 
darkness with such feelings stirred with- 
in me; satisfy them before you depart: 
are you going ? or does the dying light 
deceive me }" 

I could only see his eyes and his hands, . 
that beckoned with a fitful motion in 
the flashing light. '' That lamp warns 
me away. I must go to my other task : 
I must go to watch at your father's bed- 
side." The tone in which he uttered 
this convinced me he did not speak it 
in his earthly capacity. The lamp went 
out. I saw him no more, nor heard him : 
more. He disappeared in the darkness, 
without the closing of a door, or the sound 
of a step. 

e5: Gracious, 

82 ?ATAL revenge; or. 

Gracious Heaven ! what a sensation came 
over me when I felt myself alone after 
what I had heard and seen ! I shrunk 
into my cloak. I wished sight, and hear- 
ing, and memory utterly extinct. 1 felt 
1 had acquired a strange treasure. I felt 
that the visit and the communications 1 
might probably receive were supernatural 
and marvellous; but I feared to look in- 
to my mind ; I dreaded to think on them ; 
they were all too wild and darkly shaped 
to be the companions of night and soli- 
tude. I v/ished to think deeply of what I 
had witnessed ; but not till morning. I 
longed for a deep, heavy sleep, to ease 
my dizzy head, that throbbed, and whirled, 
and rung, till, grasping it with both 
hands, I tried to shut every avenue of 
thought and sensation. It was a dismal 
night. I heard the clock strike every 
hour. Morning' broke; and when I saw,, 
at length, the sun, bright and chearful, 
shining on my walls, I lay* down to rest 



w^ith a confidence, a satisfaction of mind, 
that I believe .1 never shall again feel 
going to rest at' night. 

Father Schemoli visited me, as usual, 
in the day. There was not a trace of 
last night's business in his countenance. I 
shrunk when he entered, yet soon sur- 
prized at his silence and unaltered look,. 
I spoke to him, spoke of last night, first 
with questions of general import. These 
received no answer. I became more 
anxious ; I inquired, I demanded, 1 in- 
treated in vain. After staying the usual 
time, he departed, without relaxing a 
muscle, without ultering a sound, or in- 
dicating, by look or gesture, that he even 
understood me. He departed, leaving me 
in that unpleasant state in which yoU be- 
gin to question the evidence of your own 
senses, and doubt whether the objects 'of 
your solicitude were not the shadows of 
a dream. 

The day passed on. Evening came, 
1 with 

84 FATAL revenge; or, 

with a train of sad and dusky ihoiigbls. 
I could not exclude them, I ceased to 
attempt it. My mind had either sunk 
under the languor of a long and vain 
resistance, or had become familiarized to 
objects once so strange and repulsive to 
our nature. They seemed to me the 
proper furniture of my prison. I 
hung over them in gloomy listlessness, 
without shrinking, or repelling them as 
I first endeavoured. Of a mind in this 
state, no wonder the sleeping thoughts 
were as dark as the waking. Indeed, all 
my thoughts, at that gloomy time, floated 
between vision and consciousness. I 
have often started from a point where 
their pursuit has led me, and asked my- 
self. Was it the dark object of a dream ? 
That night, w^eary with the watching of 
the last, I threw myself on my narrow 
bed as soon as it was twilight. I had 
scarce closed my eyes, when I was in- 
vested with all those strange powers 




which sleep gives, beyond all powers of 

I thought Michelo was still alive, and 
that he led me to the apartments of the 
west tower. They were decorated gaily 
and magnificently^ and nlled with crowds, 
who turned their eyes on me, as if some- 
thing was expected from my arrival. I 
passed through them till I arrived at the 
chamber, that chamber whose ominous 
stains told me of dangers my curiosity 
or my fortitude defied. It was more 
magnificent than the rest. At the head 
of a sumptuous table sat my uncle and 
his wife, such as 1 had seen them in their 
portraits, gay, and young, and splendid. 
At a distance, they appeared to be smil- 
ing around them, and on each other ; 
but as I drew near them, the smile was 
altered into a strange expression. It 
seemed an effort to conceal the sharpest 
agony. I came still nearer, and fear 
began to mingle with my feelings. As I 


86 FATAL revenge; ok,' 

approached, my uncle seized my hanJ^ 
and drew me to him, then, withdrawing 
his gay vest, shewed me his breast pierced 
with daggers, and splashed with blood. 
I shuddered ; but while I was yet gazing 
on him, he snatched one of the daffgrers 
from his side, and plunged it into that of 
his wife. She fell, dying, beside him ; 
and, with one of those sudden changes, 
that in dreams excite no wonder, he 
suddenly became Father Schemoli, his 
head shorn, and his habit that of a monk, 
andchaunted the requiem over the corpse 
of his wife. It was echoed by a thou- 
sand voices. I looked around me ; the 
company, so gay and festive, were chang- 
ed into a train of monks, with tapers and 
crosses, and the apartment was a vault. 
As I gazed still, the lights grew blue and 
pale ; slowly, but perceptibly, the body 
decayed away, and became a skeleton, 
wrapt in a bloody shroud. The band of 



monks faded away, as I looked on 
them, into a ghastly troop, with the as- 
pects of the dead, but the features and 
movements of the living. Their eyes- 
became hollow, their garments a blue 
discoloured skin ; the hands that held 
their tapers, as yellow and as thin as 
they. Still I gazed, while they all around 
me, and standing on a single point of 
ground ; I beheld them all go down^, 
their forms deadening in the gloom, and 
the last sound of their requiem coming 
broken, and faint, and far from beneath. 
The whole scene was then changed, and I 
found myself wandering through rooms, 
spacious, but empty and dreary. From 
the floor, from the wainscot, from every 
corner, I heard my name repeated, in 
soft, but distinct accents, Annibal, Anni- 
bal. It came to me from every side. 
Pursuing it, but yet scarce knowing the 
direction, 1 followed it from room to 
room. At length, I was in one that had 

88 FATAL revenge; or, 

an air of peculiar loneliness in it. The voice 
ceased ; and there ran a hissing stillness 
through the room, as if its object were 
attained. I looked around me, expecting- 
ly. On rhe centre of the room a sump- 
tuous cloak was spread. I approached it, 
conscious that this was the point and end 
of my wanderings. I knew not why — I 
raised, but dropt it again, shrinking; for 
a bloody corse lay beneath. I was re- 
treating, but the garment began to move 
and heave ; and the figure extending a 
hand, seized mine — I could not withdraw 
it — and drew me under that blood-drop- 
ping covering by it. The floor sunk down 
below us, and I found myself in a passage, 
low, and long, and dark. The figure glided 
on before me, beckoning me to follow. 
Far onward i saw a dim, blue light. I 
followed the mangled form. We came 
into a place resembling a chapel. I again 
saw my uncle standing beside an altar. 
The tapers on it burned with that strange 



light I had seen. There was a fearful 
contrast between the furniture of the 
chapel, wliich was gay and bridal, and the 
figure of the cavalier, and that of a lady 
who sat near the altar, wrapt in a shroud 
and cearments ; the cavalier approached 
her, she rose, my uncle advanced, and 
began to read the marriage service. The 
cavalier held forward his bloody arm ; 
the lady extended her hand — it was Ermi- 
nia. I said mentally, ^' Is this a mar- 
riage?" I rushed forward with a wild 
feeling of jealousy and fear. The lady saw 
me, she shrieked, she darted from the 
altar, and catching my hand, led me to 
my uncle. He gazed at me a moment, 
then clasping me in his arms, I beheld 
him again changed into father Schemoli. 
I shrunk from his embrace, twisting my- 
self from him with motions of horror and 


1 awoke with the struggle, and beheld 
the monk again seated opposite me ; and 



watching the time-piece, by the lamp 
that was not yet extinguished; with the 
full wakefulness of horror, I bent for- 
ward to see if my hour was yet come — it 
was past twelve. I felt a satisfaction at 
it, that even the presence of my visitor 
could not check. He spoke not, as on the 
former night ; and his silence again 
bound me up. It was a strange and so- 
lemn form ; we gazed on each other in- 
tently : I had no more power to with- 
draw my eyes from, than to speak to him. 
Whoever had beheld us, would have be- 
lieved me bound by a spell, till his dark 
eye was turned to me, and his finger ex- 
tended to dissolve it. The images of my 
dream w^ere with me still, so strongly, 
that he scarce seemed to make a stronger 
impression on me by his real, than his 
■s isionary presence ; he ceased to be an 
agent, but appeared come to be an inter- 
preter. Again, as the hand of the time- 
piece pointed to one, he raised his eye, 



and said^ " Now I may speak/' *' What 
is it/' said I^^, familiarized to his appear- 
ance^ " What is it forbids you to speak 
till this season? You seem to have a 
strange freedom given you at this hour. 
I adjure you^ to speak to me in the day, 
when our conference will be more natu- 
ral, and like that of man; but you love 
to glide on me in darkness and sleep ; 
to look on with strange eyes, to talk to 
me with the voices of sleep or of fancy.'* 
" That is, because in this form, my pow- 
ers are limited ; I cannot speak when I 
would, nor to whom. I am only per- 
mitted that at a certain hour, and to 
but one human being. This heavy ves- 
ture I am wrapped in, presses on me, 
and checks my movements; but 'tis but 
the weeds of a pilgrim-spirit, and enough 
has at times glimmered through it, tQ 
give token of its strange tenant." '"^ What 
is it you speak of — what it that restrains 
and presses on you?'* ^' This form 



of seeming flesh and blood, that bear^f 
about an imprisoned and penanced spirit." 
Gracious heaven, how he looked at that 
moment ; so sad, so dim, so visionary. 
My eye scarcely fixed his form, that seem- 
ed to mingle with the darkness that sur- 
rounded it. " Penanced, indeed/' said I, 
shuddering with partial belief, '' if im- 
mured in such a form. But how wild, 
how monstrous a fiction would your words 
intimate. Gracious heaven, preserve my 
reason while I look at you ; save me from 
credulity, that would deprive me of the 
very use of my senses ; that would make 
me the victim of a horrid, and impossible 
dream. What might I not be impelled 
to do, if I could believe you ? You 
might make me a m.urderer, were I re- 
signed to your influence. No — this mid- 
night visiting, and the terrors with which 
you would fill me, are but the beginning 
of sorrows, my unnatural father threatens 
^le with. I see the malice of this perse- 


cution. Solitude and confinement, and 
the privation of all that attends my rank 
and time of life, have been employed^ 
and failed to subdue my mind ; and now 
he sends you, you, ^vhom nature or ha- 
bit has indeed made fit for a messenger 
of horror ; he sends you to depress and 
terrify me ; he causes voices to shriek in 
the passage ; and sends'a face, like the vi- 
sage of the damned, to stare at me, when 
I start from my sleep. Gracious hea- 
ven," said I, rising, and stung with heat 
and anguish of increasing fear, " how I 
am beset ; these are not his last resources; 
he will persecute me to madness. I 
shall shriek existence away in this den ; 
my eye-strings will burst at some horrible 
sight ; I shall die the death of fear, and 
die it in solitude. Oh, turn your face 
away ; I see, i ieel, a smile of mockery and 
torment through all your silence. I know 
it, I know you will be here to-morrow 
night; I shall hear your shrieks rising 



./".VAiigh the darkness, and winds of night, 
ihen you will stand beside me in some 
nkered shape, or perhaps drag me from 
my sleep." I had worked myself to a 
frame, that felt and witnessed all it de- 
cribed. *' Away," I cried, dashing my- 
self on my bed, and hiding my head ea- 
gerly in my cloak, '' away, I will shut 
mine eyes, and not look upon you." ''If 
this was intended,'' said he calmly, " why 
did I not do it before, when the impres- 
sion would have been more forcible from 
its being unlooked for? And why do I 
throw^ a veil over the visioned form of 
my nature, and confer with you, as man 
with man ? If my purpose were to ter- 
rify, would I have acted thus?" '' I know 
not ; 'tis your office and habit to deal in 
mystery, to torment with perplexity ; 
if it be not, why will you not explicitly 
declare your purpose, and begone. This 
chamber is dark enough without your 
presence. — Yet do not," starting up, and 



grasping his hand, '' do not to-night ; ^'^ 
morrow, speak to me to-morrow at noon, 
and I will listen to you/* " To-morrow at 
noon I cannot ; I shall be laid in my dark 
and bloody lair; I cannot walk in the light 
of noon, nor utter a voice that may be 
hecird by man." '' Your outward form," 
said I, " will be here." '' It will be but my 
outward form," said he. '' But why this 
necessity for night and solitude? Are 
you an owl, or a raven, that must haunt in 
ruins, and hoot by moonlight only." '' I 
have a darker tale to tell than the owl that 
sits on the desolate ruin ; than the ra- 
ven that beats heavily at the window of 
the dying." '' Then forbear to tell it, for 
I will not hear it, and leave me ; the ter- 
rors of solitude, and my own thoughts 
are enough." '' You did not think when 
you forced old Michelo to the West tow- 
er, to watch with you at the tomb, when 
you pursued me from haunt to haunt, and 
iihno?.t saw me at the task, which may not 



be seen." I was not then/' said I, '' con- 
fined in this prison ;" " and therefore I was 
not permitted to speak to you." " Strange 
being, who can at once lead on and repel ; 
who can so qualify fear with curiosity ; 
who just know when to strengthen while 
you seem to remit all influence. I feel 
I can resist no longer. You are possess- 
ed of every avenue to the human mind ; 
you can make me fear, and desire, and 
retreat, and pause, and advance as you 
will; even when I think I dread you 
most, you can make an appeal to some 
secret and cherished object of pursuit or 
desire, that distracts me with curiosity, 
that subdues me to concession and in- 
treaty. I feel my heart, and mind, and 
fate are at your disposal, or your sport. 
You have been with me in solitude ; you 
have seen me, when no eye saw me ; you 
have over-heard my thoughts, when they 
were not uttered. Go on, tell me what 
you will ; tell me what I am to do, or to 
2 know 


know—go on ; I fear, I feel I must bdieve 
it all/' " Tis twenty years since I was 
what you are now% a mortal, with mortal 
passions and habits. 'Tis twenty years 
since my blood flowed/ or my pulses beat 
with life; when they did, their current 
was keen and fiery; I lived the life of 
sin and folly. Heaven and holy things 
were far from my thoughts. The power 
whom I forsook, forsook me : I was given 
over to a reprobate mind. My life was 
passed in a blaze of wickedness, and cut 
off with an end of blood. I w as dragged 
to the grave by murderous and unhallowed 
hands ; hands, like my own, on fire with 
wickedness, and drunk with blood ; hands 
that I am appointed to see every night 
held up for pardon, and to tell they are 
held up in vain. My body was thrust 
into the hole where you found it, and 
my soul " '' Where did it go ? I ad- 
jure you, stop not there; — tell me, where 
did your soul depart to?" ''I must not 
VOL. II. F tell. 


tell, nor could you hear the secrets of the 
world of shadows ; my taskers, who are 
ever around me, would flash upon your 
i^ight, and sweep me away before you, if 
I told their employment. The bare sight 
of them would shrivel you to dust, and 
heap this massy tower in fragments ever 
your head; you must not cross me with 
these questions, nor interrupt me whil« 
I speak ; my time is short, and my words 
measured to me; but of this be as- 
sured, no visions of moon-struck fancy ; 
no paintings of the dying murderer ; no 
imagings of religious horror have touched 
upon the confines of the world of woe. Af- 
ter a term of years, (during which itwas a 
remission of sufferance, to ride the night- 
mares through the dark and sickly air ; to 
hide me in the foldings of the sick man's 
curtains, and slowly rise on his eye, when 
his attendants withdrew, till he shrieked 
to them to return ; to wail and to beckon 
from flood, and fell, and cavern, till the 



\vildered passenger, or wandering child 
of despair, plunged after me, and with 
dying eye saw who had waved them on 
to do the loathed service of the foulest 
of fiendish natures, the incubus, and the 
vampire, and the goule ; to bring them 
from the various elements which have 
swallowed them ; their unutterable food, 
our own corrupted remains : to see the 
very worms conscious, and dropping from 
the prey ; to feel the pain of our own 
flesh devoured with mortal sensation not 
all extinguished, like the faint feelings of 
pain in sleep, just vexing our dreams, 
and warring on the outworks of sensa- 
tion ) — after a term of years thus passed, 
one night, when the evil ones were lord- 
ing it in the upper air, driven on by the 
flaky forks of the lightning, the sharp- 
bolted shot of the hail, and the hollo, and 
shout, and laughter of the revelling host 
of darkness, I shrunk into the recess of a 
mountain, and called upon its riven and 
F 2 rocky 


rocky bowels to close upon me; but I 
was driven still onward ; the sides of the 
mountain groaned under the fire- shod and 
hooky feet of my pursuers. I pressed on 
through the dark passages, through se- 
crets of nature never seen bv sun, cloa- 
ged by the dews, parched with the airs^ 
scared with the meteor fires of this dun- 
geon of the fabric of the world ; till 
through an aperture that would admit all 
the armies, 1 flew into a vast plain, in the 
centre of the mountain, where piles of 
smouldering and charmed rock, inscribed 
with forbidden names, repelled the escape 
even of a disembodied spirit. I believed 
this to be my final bourne^ and almost 
thought with hope, that the last thunders 
would dash even this adamantine prison 
to dust ; but I was deceived, yea, though 
a spirit unblessed, I was deceived by 
hope. This had been a vast plain, where- 
on, in elder time, stood a vast city, with 
all its inhabitants ; they were idolatrous 



and ^vickecl, and invoked the powers^ and 
studied the arts of the dark and nether 

Therefore^ the supreme power had in 
his wrath caused a vast body of volcaniir 
fire to rise out of the centre of the cit}:,. 
which had consumed it, v/ith all its inha- 
bitan.tSj in one night, while the stones^ 
and mineral masses, and solid fire spread- 
ing around, and arching over it, formed a 
mountain around it, and hid its name, and 
place, and memory from man for ever 
and ever. It was now the favoured haunt 
of unclean spirits ; none others could 
find their way to it, and live. There I 
saw forms that must not be named, nor 
how employed; I shrunk into a recess, 
from the abhorred lights; but there I 
found that my flight had been involun- 
tary, that nothing was less meant than a 
respite from pain, and tliat even the 
sport of devils must have malignity. 
la that recess, a volume of fire, fed with 


log FATAL revenge; OR^ 

other substance than earthly fire, sent up 
its long, flaky spires, of green, and pur- 
ple, and vvhite; around it, impressed on the 
rock, and flashing out in its shifting light, 
were the forms of rnen in solid sulphur, 
or molten mineral, or those fused and 
mingled bodies, the monstrous birth of 
volcanic throes; they were a company 
of sorcerers, that ^vere met to do their 
dark rites on the very night that they 
were caught, and blasted by fires from 
the nether world. Thev remained fixed 
around a mrsgic fire they had raised, each 
in tho very form and attitude in which 
pimishmtnt overtook them, nielicd into 
the walls of the vast teniple of mi^gic,, 
where they were assembled and which 
was now a cavern in that inward region ; 
each still bore the frown, and the awe of 
the potent hour in their suiouldering 
faces; each still was armed with sioiL 
and teraph, and talisman. In the heart 
of the fire, by a human body, uncon- 



Slimed for two thousand years ; for they 
had but partially raised it for some magic 
purpose, when they were destroyed ; and 
tin the spell was reversed, the body iniii^t 
continue there for ever. But they were now 
compelled by a stonger power than their 
own, by the power of my companions, 
to waken from that sleep of horrid ex- 
istence, to renew the unfinished spell, and 
to raise the corse that lay in the flames. 
They obeyed, for they could not resist 
the words of power; and they felt that 
their crime was become their puni^sh- 
ment. It was a sight of horror, even for 
an unblessed soul to see them. Rent 
from^the smoking rocks, that they wished 
might fall on them, and hide them ; their ' 
forms of metallic and rocky cinder, whci:- 
the human feature horribly struggled 
through burnt and blackening masses, 
discoloured with the calcined and dingy 
hues of fire, purple, and red, and green ; 
their stony eyes rolling with strange 


.104 FATAL rI'Te^nGe; or, 

life ; their sealed jaws rent open by 
.sounds, that ^vcre like the rudi lof sub- 
terrene winds, moving around the fire, 
ivhose conscious flakes pointed and 
wound towards them. The spell was 
finished — thp corse w^as released, and the 
living dead re-inclorsed in their shrouds of 
adamar.t. Then words w^ere uttered, and 
characters wrought, which no man could 
hear and live ; and I, for furtliet- pe- 
nance, was compelled to enter the bodj 
to which the fur;Ctions or life wer^ re- 
stored; and to which I must be confined,; 
till my term of suflerance v/as abridged 
by the interment of my bone>, and 
the piinirohm.ent of m^y mortal miyr- 
derer." '' £top, stop," said I, vehemently, 
*' 1 can listen no mure.— I\]y head is reel- 
ing — my eyes are flashing- — while you 
ccntuvae to cpcak, wifile I look on you, 
my breith is loct. — Can man believe these 
things ?" I repeated to myself, '' can man 
believe tiieuc things ? But, Oh,'' again I 



said intemally, '* can man invent the^e 
things?" "'Yes/' it continued^ " thest 
are magsive bones of the elder time; 
this tawney skin was darkened by a sun 
two thousand years older than that which 
lit you yesterday. It was the body of an 
inhabitant of that ancient city, that was 
raised to be employed in the dark doings 
of witchery, on the very night of its de- 
struction. Oh, think what it is to be 
again pent in sinful flesh, without the 
power or desires of life ; to look on the 
world through the dim organs of death; 
to see men, as shadov/s moving around me, 
and to be a shadow amongst them ; to feel 
all the objects and agents of life striking 
on my quenched perceptions, as faintly 
as the images of sleep — but to be terri- 
bly awake to all that imagery, those mt)- 
tions that are hid from man — when I sit 
among you, to see the forms, and hear 
the voices I do; to converse with the dead, 
and yet wander among the living ; how can 

I lose 
F 5 

106 FATAL revenge; or 

I lose this dread sense of another state 
of existence ? It can be acquired by 
no living being, but can never be lost by 
the dead — if any dead are tasked like me. 
I cannot tell you what words are w^hisper- 
ed to me, nor Vt^hat shapes are beside me 

Alternate bursts of enthusiasm and 
fear were visiting my mind, like the al- 
ternate rush and ebb of an ocean-wave, 
as he spoke. I had uttered my last words 
under the influence of fear, and now, 
I spoke alike involuntarily, under 
the other impulse. " You can, you must 
let me behold those froms ; I must hear 
those sounds. Are the secrets of another 
world so near me, and cannot I lay hold 
on ihcm ?" ''You cannot; these things 
m-an may not behold, and live." '' I would 
hazard life itself," said I, with frantic eager- 
ness, '' to look on them.' " Mortal, per- 
verse and fond, you would throw away 
life to feed an unhallowed curiosity; and 
you listen, without emotion, to a spirit in 



despair^ that cries to you for remission 
and rest from the pit \vhere there is no 
water. '* '' Me ? — to me this appeal ? 
Who cries to me ? — Wliat must I do, or 
how am I involved? Oh! do not call on, 
do not come to me. I fear the snares 
of death are o^atherino; about me, vvhile 
I confer with you. Be satisfied; you 
have filled me with horrors ; you have 
kindled in my mind a Mre that can ne- 
ver be quenched. — Be satisfied, and de- 
part. This is a wild hour, full of dark 
thoughts, and hauntings from the power 
of evil. Leave me. I have heard too 
much ; I have thought too much." '- No 
I cannot leave you ; I must not leave 
you. Every night my visit must be re- 
peated ; every night my tale must be 
told perhaps by other voices than mine- 
Long was the name of my deliverer with- 
held. I was driven around the world for 
years, the sport of the elements, the out- 
cast of man, unknown by, and unknow- 



ing all, yet compelled every night to 
visit the place where my bones decay, 
iinblest ; and measure every night, with 
groans that would thrill a spirit to hear, 
the ground to the chapel, w^ith my strange 
load, rend up the earth with my own 
hands, and place it in an unhallowed 
grave, while the fiends, who watch the 
lost souls in those vaults, with howl, and 
charmed tapers, mocking the absent rite, 
would cast it forth again, and bear it 
with laugh and ban to that blood- 
.^prinkled hole where it cannot rest. It 
tvas a weary way for me to wander every 
night to that spot, though the sun had 
set on me in the deserts of Africa. At 
length, I was permitted to enter this 
castle, in a character that procured me 
exemption from the persecution of fre- 
quent notice, and of being compelled 
to mingle much with human beings ; yet^, 
secluded as I v/as, the domestics noticed,, 
feared, sind watched me, and were punish- 


ed for their curiosity. Here I learned 
who was to free me from my dark thralL 
Annibal di Montorio, it is you. You 
must collect my unburied bones; you 
must lay them in holy earthy with need- 
ful and decent rite^, with bell, and bless- 
ing of holy men. Annibal di Montorio, 
your task does not end here. From the 
groaning ground, from the ground where 
my murder was done, there comes a 
voice, whose cry is, ^^ Blood for blood." 
'*Stop, stop, before I run wild; I 
must not hear these words, and deserve 
to live : I know their terrible meaning: 
I know whom they point to ; but it is 
impossible, it is unnatural, it is perdition ; 
I must not listen to you, I dare not ; you 
are indeed,'' (my thoughts sinking into 
solemnity), " you are indeed, what you 
say you are, an evil spirit. Such 
things as you have told me, man could 
not conceive, man could not relate. I 
believe it all, and I believe you are a 


110 FATAL revenge; OR, 

tempting spirit/ a spirit of lies ; full of 
horrible suggestions. Oh, Maria, my 
brains wheel round ; but, to think on 
what you have darkly led me to ! — Away 
from me — avaunt, thou adversary ! \¥hat- 
ever vcu are, you savour strongly of the 
power that prompts you. A moment, and 
I shall see you fly shrieking and defeated^ 
surrounded by hooting imps, goaded with 
talon and fang. Oh, look not at me thus [ 
I pity you, by heaven and all its saints, ^ 
pity, and will pray for you. All offices 
of grace and love, m.ass, and prayer, 
and pilgrimage shall be done for you ; 
your bones shall lay in holy earth, with 
cross and relick, and holy water, and ce- 
remonies to dnve away the power that 
has you in dark durance : all things that 
may do peace to a parted soul, shall 
be done for you ; but further, name it 
not, hint it not ; I will not hear you 
speak again. Do not look at me with 
that dark, meaning eye ; I know who he 


is ; I know all — but some other hand — • 
Who made me an angel of vengence^ to 
ride air in the terror of my purpose 
through the bowels of nature, through the 
shriek of mankind, through the blood of 
a father ?" 

Ippolito, if, from these broken sentences 
of fear and aversion, you cannot discover 
the meaning I ascribed to the words of 
the phantom, I dare not tell it more 
explicitly. He understood me well. — 
'' You perceive my purpose, then ; with 
the purposes of destiny, it is the same 
thing to be discovered and obeyed. But 
you are full of the flesh, and fleshly 
fears. You have not yet attained that 
sad and lonely exemption from mortal 
feeling^, which is marhcd on the hrow of 
the agent of fate. You have not stood 
in the thick cloud of your purpose, from 
which the lightnings and thunderings 
issuing, terrify the congregation of man- 
kind. But we shall meet again," '' Never ; 


IH FATAL revenge; OR, 

Oh ! never. By every holy name, if holy 
name have power over you, I in treat 
you to depart; haunt me no more ; you 
can drive me to despair, but never to 
guilt. Begone, I adjure you, and com- 
mand you. We must meet no more. I 
know not to what the terrors of your 
presence might drive me. Madness, or 
worse than madness threatens me while I 
look at you. Your words have sunk into 
my soul. Nothing shall ever remove 
them. Your appearance and your tale 
can never be forgotten. There is no need 
to repeat them. If you value the wel- 
fare and salvation of an immortal soul, 
leave me, and never see me more." 

He shook his head mournfully. The 
motion continued so long, and was ac- 
companied with a look so disconsolate, 
that twice and thrice I rubbed my eyes, 
and doubted that their weakness gave a 
vibratinof motion to what I saw. At 
length he spoke. '* My visits are involun- 


tary. I was constrained to wander over 
the earth, till I found the being destined 
by Fate to give rest and atonement to 
my corse and spirit ; and now that I have 
found you, your own shadow^ your own 
limbs, your own consciousness, and hearty 
and soul, cannot be more intimate and 
ever-present companions to you, than I 
and my terrible tale shall be. I will 
visit you every night: I will hover round 
you all day : my whispers shall never 
leave your ears, nor my presence your 
fancy. Fly from me, plunge into other 
scenes and employments, change your 
country, your character, your habits— I 
will follow you through all space ; I will 
live with you through all life ; the eter- 
nal will has wedded me to you Suspend 
the swelling of the sea, arrest the moon 
in her course, change all things beneath 
the throne of heaven, and then, despair 
of driving me from you. The powers of 
l^oth worlds are alike armed against your 


114 FATAL revenge; OR, 

impious opposition. Hell will not remit 
its torments, nor heaven reverse its de- 
crees. I may haunt you in more ter- 
rible shape; I may speak to you in a 
voice that resembles the seething tides 
of the lake that burneth with fire and 
brimstone; your reason may desert you 
in the struggle, but I must pursue you 
till my body and soul are at peace. Then 
when the great blow is struck/' (his eye 
rolled and his figure spread,) '' and the 
thunder, the long with-held thunder of 
heaven, is smiting into dust these dark 
and blood-steeped towers — then, onre, 
and for the last lime, you shall sec, in 
my original form, bestriding these blast- 
ed battlements, a giant-shape of fire, 
rending up the vaults where rnurdcr has 
slept for ages, and pouring out to day, 
the guilty secrets of a house, whose 
records of crimes and of disasters sl>all 
end in me/' 

1 attempted 


I attempted to interrupt him, or to 
forbear to listen to him, in vain. I might 
as well have interrupted the ravings of 
the Sybil, or arrested the storm of hea- 
ven. He rushed on the ear and soul 
■^vith a flood of sound and thought, that 
left the hearer, gasping, bewildered, star- 
ing around to see had the voice issued 
from above, from beneath, were the 
walls around him in motion, or was the 
ground beneath him heaving and yawn- 
iu^ with those terrible sounds. Till he 
had ceased, so suspended was my mind, 
I did not perceive I was in darkness. 
This circumstance, which I had deter- 
jnincd to watch tenaciously, again escap- 
ed me in the confusion of my thoughts. 
J held up the glimmerings of my lamp, 
'i'hey sliewed me his figure dimly retir- 
ing, but in what direction I could not 
diiicover, in the wide blackness of my 
vault. Quitting my lamp, and extending 
both arms, I felt around me, calling on 


116 FATAL revenge; ob^ 

him till the echoes of my voicC;, so fan- 
cifully aggravated, and modified to a 
thousand wild tones, in those long pas- 
sages, came fearfully back to my ear; 
and, with a sudden impulse, I drew in 
my arms, lest I should encounter his, 
or some other strange touch, freezing 
up my limbs with its chilling gripe. 

When I retreated to my bed, 1 expect- 
ed a terrible night ; but I found that the 
eiiergy of my feelings was a balance for 
their wild agitation. I was too much out 
of the sphere of human nature to be as- 
sailed by its fears. To every start and 
stirring of uneasy thought I felt myself 
replying with a povfer of resistance and 
careless defiance I had never felt before, 
and that now I wondered I felt. I slept 
heavily for the remainder of the night, 
undisturbed by dream or start of fear. 

The next day, when I awoke, I looked 
around me with a new sensation. I spread 
out my hands, and said to myself, al- 


most audibly, I am a new creature. I 
rose, and strode across my room, with the 
proud step of one who was elevated a~ 
bove the feelings and claims of nature. 
I felt that I had held communion with the 
inmate of another world, of that world, 
so awful to our fears, so remote from 
our conceptions. I felt a shadowy dig- 
nity spreading around me. A feeling of 
pride, without the grovelling and pre- 
carious qualities of earthly pride, bore 
me up. I felt myself superior to' kings, 
and all the mighty ones of the earth. 
What is their power ? said I, internally ; 
It lasts for a few hours, and worms like 
themselves tremble beneath \t To se- 
cure it they consult v/ith man^^r^ieyaiun 
men, tremble for its preservatipn, and 
are annihilated by its loss. But the power 
with which I am invested, extemd&>taa 
future and unending state. Dependent 
on me is the state of beings, whose sub- 
stance is indissoluble^, and whose duration 


118 FATAL revenge; OK, 

is eternal. To solicit my aid the laws of 
heaven are changed, and the veil of the 
temple of eternity rent in twain. I can 
fix in passiveness, or bind down in tor- 
ment, beings who could, if they were let 
loose, scatter and ravish the system and ele- 
ments in ivhich I live ; and I can do this, by 
powers beyond the most magnified powers 
of my nature — powers peculiarly and ex- 
clusively entrusted to me, and for a pe- 
riod beyond that of my own life, per- 
haps beyond that of mankind. 

The ghastly character of these new 
powers was lost in these contemplations, 
or rather in that strong flow of renew- 
ed spirits with which every creature en- 
ters on another day, occupied by a pe- 
culiar train of thought, and illuminated 
by a bright and morning sun. When I did 
look around, the few external objects the 
circuit of my prison furnished, all became, 
to my grasping and expanded frame of feel- 
ing, converted into fuel for them. Their 



mpressions diversified my thoughts with- 
ri\t diminishing them. I looked on the 
;un;, or rather on the reflections that^ 
:hequered with the heavy casement work^ 
ell on the thick arches of my windows. 

looked on him as if I could have con- 
roled, and turned his beams backward, 
thought with contempt of his task, em- 
Dloyed in lighting m^yriads of half animat- 
ed creatures to quit animal sleep for 
mental lethargy, a night of drowsiness for 
1 day of vacancy ; in calling up beings 
exactly the same, since he first dawned 
3n earth, through exactly the same tasks, 
md to exactly the same repose. 

And I thought of myself, set apart by 
:he hand of heaven to work a secret and 
;ublime purpose ; to ope the hidden 
Dook of crimes, and read them to an ap- 
Dalled world ; to gripe, like Sampson, the 
nain props of the fabric of iniquity, and 
bear it to the ground, crushed under its 
lUge and scattering ruin, I thought, that to 


120 FATAL revenge; or^ 

the record of my life^ the heart of man 
would cling, by its most vital hopes and 
fears, by its fond interest in life, and its 
trembling solicitude of futurity ; while 
the histories of nations, and kingdoms, 
and chiefs, the ephemeral bubbles of 
time, mouldered away in their hands. I 
looked on the walls of my prison with a 
contempt, a secret, invidious contempt. — 
Yes, said I, ye may frov/n and lower ; 
ye may deepen your shadows, and make 
your fastenings ten-fold more strong ; 
every wind of heaven may blow on you, 
till your cement hardens into solid rock, 
and your pile is as a pile of adamant. But 
before the arm of Eim, v/ho beckons me 
to his strong bidding, ye, and all earth^ 
]y obstructions, shall pass away Ijke 
smoke. Ye may look grim on other pri- 
soners; children of earth may languisii 
out their unmarked and valueless lives 
here ; they may look up, shuddering, to 
your iron rooft and say^ From hence is 



no redemption ; but what are ye to me, 
whom the Power that leads, can bring 
from the bottom of the ocean ; cati snatch 
from the crater of the volcano ; can bid 
the elements fall back ; yea, can make the 
very grave give up again, '' because he 
hath need of me?" 

I paused over these reflections. My 
mind was filled with a terrible courage, 
a daring elevation, a wild and gloomy 
sublimity. The sensation of fear was the 
ground of all my feelings ; but it was 
fear purified from all grossness of earth- 
ly mixture or infirmity. I was the as- 
sociate, not the prey of unearthly beings. 
1 was no longer grasping at a shred of 
the falling mantle of the prophet ; but 
sailing up in his fiery chariot, careering 
through the extent of space, and bend- 
ing the forms of the elements to my pro- 
gress and my power. For hours I wiUk- 
ed up and down my prison, which wa? 
spacious and lofty, but w^hose limits seem-^ 

VOL. u. G ed 

122 FATAL revenge; or, 

ed to drive back my breath — my velocity 
increasing, my frame mantling and throb- 
bing, my mind soaring at every step, till 
the hour of my attendant's appearing was 
long elapsed. 

This scarcely produced an impression 
on me. At length, I heard a step ap- 
proach, and a key inserted in the door. 
My senses had been so quickened by the 
habit of intense observation on the trivial 
circumstances that exercised them, that I 
perceived at once, from the slow and ir- 
regular manner in which the key was turn- 
ed, that it was not held by the usual hand. 
I had scarce time to notice this, when it 
burst open with an impetuous movement, 
as if my gaoler was incensed at the delay, 
and Filippo, haif-sobbing, half-shouting, 
was at my feet, I never experienced, nc- 
7er will again experience, perhaps, so 
fttrong a proof of the mutability of hu- 
man feelings. In a moment all within 
and around me was changed. I was re- 


joiced to compound between the dark 
and cloudy elevation of my mind, and 
the warm, humble, sheltered feelings that 
the sight of a human creature, my fellow 
in the flesh, its infirmities, and affections, 
and who appeared to have some kindness 
towards me, excited. I rejoiced to descend 
from the precipice of aerial existence, and 
claim kindred with man. For some time 
I permitted his emotions to flow on unre- 
strained. I v/as soothed and delighted by 
feeling his warm tears and kisses raining on 
my hands, my vesture, my knees, with ra- 
pid and impatient delight. I was only 
moved to disturb him by the considera- 
tion, that we were perhaps observed, and 
that the unequivocal marks of his re- 
o^ard mio^ht expose him to dang-er. I en- 
deavoured to raise him. He understood 
and answered my fears. There was no 
one near us, he said ; no one dreamed of 
V7^atching or suspecting us ; all was trust- 
ed to him, thanks to the blessed saints, 
G 2 and. 

J 24 FATAL revenge; or, 

and, above all, his patron Filippo, that 
enabled him to deceive my father, and 
even that fiend-monk^ as he called the 
confessor, with vehement bitterness. 

I could not suppress my astonishment 
at his appearance and his information. I 
had believed myself shut out from all the 
world, from the approach or sympathy 
of man ; least of all did I believe, 
that one exposed to the persecution 
which had immured me, should be 
permitted to visit me in freedom ; but it 
was in vain to pour question on question. 
Filippo's eagerness and delight overbore 
and actually silenced me for the fwnt half- 
hour, and scarcely even then could I ob- 
tain from him a coherent account of the 
means that had again brought us toge- 

'' Oh ! Signor," said he, *' do you re- 
member that last terrible night when you 
paused at the foot of the stairs, and threw 
open that dark door; and you entered 



iVom hiiiij and looked on him as I took it, 
with the vacant eye of weakness; but the 
look or his features rouzed me, weak as I 
was ; it was a strange expression ; I do 
not like to think of it, even now. We 
went out immediately; he took care I 
should not be seen by any of the family. 
We went to the stables. I felt myself in- 
flamed by the wine I had swallowed, and 
we rode off together in high spirits. In 
a short time, however, my companion be- 
came silent and gloomy. I asked him a 
thousand questions about my journey, its 
object, and its termination ; I could get 
no answer from him, but a short and ge- 
neral one — '^ Your journey is short and 
easy ; to-morrow night will end it."' Then 
I spoke of the Count, and liis condescen- 
sion to me; but I observed, t.'iat as I 
spake on this subject, he became more 
dark, and more re.^less ; then I began to 
inquire how long he had been in the service 
of the Count Montorio. " 1 have served the 


138 FATAL revenge; or. 

Count," said he, '' many years/' '* Yet 
I do not recollect seeing you before to- 
night/' said I. '' It is very possible; I'am 
not always visible to the famity, though 
few, I believe, can boast of being more 
constantly employed, or of having ren- 
dered more useful service to his Excel- 
lenza/' " Secret ones, it should seem," 
said I, half jestingly. " Very likely, but 
not the less useful," said he, sternly. 

We went on in silence, and lay that night 
at a shed, in a vine-yard in the Cam- 
pagna: those sheds, you know, in which the 
'watchers guard the grapes during the vin- 
tage^ are constructed of straw,'and branches, 
and other slio^ht materials — this was our 
lodging; I did not soon go to rest, for my 
mind was tossed by the circumstances that 
had preceded the journey ; and soon after 
my companion lay down, I found all 
thought of rest was vain. He talked to 
himself with such loudness and vehe- 
mence, you would have believed that 



armed men were fi<rhtin2: in the hut. and 
blood was spilt, and bodies were fall- 
ing like withered leaves. Sometimes he 
would cry out to wipe those daggers ; 
sometimes to hide those bloody gar- 
ments; sometimes, " What, struggling 
stiii ! Press your knee firmly on his breast, 
and gripe the skin of his throat 1 Aye, 
that will do; now close his eyes, and 
wipethatbloody foam off his m^outh/' Then 
starting up, he would cry, "There, fel- 
lows, there, he has fled, he has escaped ; fly 
after him, pursue him ; my lord the Count 
will buy his blood with half his lands." 

These were strange words ; but I con- 
fess, that while I looked at the bright 
and blessed moon, and caught the breeze 
through my casement of leaves, so fresh 
and cool after the damp heats of mj'- 
dungeon, I listened to them rather with 
vacant curiosity, than fear. As 1 looked 
on the clear heavens, I thought I saw the 
very star, that when I used to be return- 

140 FATAL kevengk; on, 

ing through the woods to the castle, f 
would see just risiitg over the battlements 
of the West tower, jt v/ould glimmer 
among them. Sign or, just like a feeble ta- 
per at a casement ; and when I saw it 
rising over the dark hills of the vintage, 
I thought of the castle, and of you. 
Though my companion and my journey 
were so strange, myriads would I have 
given you w^ere along with me, and I 
determined as soon as I had reached Apu- 
lia, to discover where you were, and to li- 
berate you if possible."' 

'' Filippo, I believe this is a gratuitous 
addition to your narrative. In the sudden 
joy of liberation, could you think of me?" 
" Could I, Signor ? Ah, you know not with 
what keenness the mind, just escaped from 
suffering, reverts to images that awaken 
and contrast its former state. To think of - 
myself was to think of you ; for to think 
of myself, was to think of a lonely being, 
a solitary being, a crnfined and pining 

bein<i ; 


than all the dark nooks and corners, ^vhich 
I had v^v seen, came strong and clear be- 
fore my eyes. It was in vain that I wrapt 
my head tight and tighter in my cloak ; in 
vain I said to myself^ I am in the dark; 
these things are not before me ; I am in a 
close, sheltered corner, where nothing is 
approaching me, and from which nothing 
is moving me — yet still — still would I 
seem to myself wandering on, thrusting 
myself down some steep, dark descent, 
rooting in some gloomy nook, following 
some strange light that glimmered and 
flitted before me, till, all on a sudden, some 
haggard face edging the dark corner, would 
grin and chatter at me. Then I would feel 
myself shrinking back to my straw, and 
still it would pursue me, and still it would 
seem to rustle through my cloak, and 
peep at me in every fold ; for still I seem- 
ed to see, though my eyes were closed, 
and though I was in utter darkness." 

G 5 Melancholy 

130 FATAL revenge; or. 

Melancholy as this account was, I yet 
was delighted with human communication, 
and with an opportunity of comparing 
feelings different from my own, in a simi- 
lar situation. 

"Ah! Signor," said Filippo earnestly, 
" how happy are gentlemen of learning, 
learned Signors, that can search into their 
own minds, and recal their reading, and 
frame conversations, and have all they 
ever knew or loved with them in their 
captivity and loneliness, by force of mind. 
I thought I should never feel that deep 
and heavy solitude, if I could recollect 
something to think of, something that 
would take me out of that dark place, 
and set me among things and people that 
I once was happy with. Heaven help 
me ! I knew nothing to drive that lone- 
ly feeling from my heart. All I could 
^o, I did. I repeated all the prayers my 
uncle Michelo had taught me, whenever 



ray food was brought ; for I had no 
other means of knowing the hour^ and I 
tried to recollect, as well as I could, some 
verses of Ariosto, which I had heard a 
recitaior at Naples pronounce. I found 
my memory marvelously improved by 
darkness and solitude; many lines I 
had long forgotten came fresh to my 
mind. I repeated them over and over 
again ; nay, 1 even added some to them, 
very unlike the original indeed ; but what 
would not a solitary prisoner resort to, 
and find interesting ? Still there wtiS a 
loneliness, an emptiness within me, a 
want of employment and of tliought. 
I envied even the grim and silent being 
that came with my food. Tie had doors 
to lock, and passages to pass, and some- 
thing to be employed in. And Oh ! how 
I envied such as you, Signor, who have a 
power of filling up all solitude, of reading 
over your books, and conversing with your 
friends, though both are far from you." 


132 PATAL kevenge; or. 

When Filippo said this, I blushed invo- 
luntarily. I recollected how little of this 
praise of felicity belonged to me ; and I 
felt how much it is in the power of cir- 
cumstances to reduce minds to the same 
Jevel, to strip us of the trappings of lo- 
cality, and shew what a kindred vein of 
suffering and weakness runs through the 
breast of us all, if the removal of outward 
distinctions permits us to detect and to 
trace its affmities. 

" But proceed, Filippo, the period of 
your total solitude was only four nights, 
yoa told me/' '' Yes, Signor, it was on 
the fourth evening, that the confessor, 
after bringing my food, and waiting till I 
had finished it, told me to follow him, and 
prepare to quit the vault. He has so 
absolute a manner with him, that all power 
of inquiry or resistance dies within me 
when he speaks. I followed him without a 
word, and knew not, asheledme on, whether 
it was to death or life. I began, however, 



to mistrust that it was the forraer, when 
I perceived he was conducting ire to your 
father's apartment. It was eveni.4^ : but 
the tapers were aheady lit, ibr your la her 
hates the darkness. When I entered the 
room he was standing. There was another 
figure there which I s?iw but dimly ; for 
my eyes were weak, and my limbs reeled 
under me. Your father looked at rne with 
astonishment. '' Is this Filippo," said he^ 
turning to the monk, '' this spectre, this 
shadow, is it Filippo ?" I was subdued to a 
childish weakness by my confinement. His 
voice sounded compassionately. What 
voice would not be delightful after a 
silence of four days ? I attempted to sup- 
plicate. I believed him touched by the 
spectacle he had made me; but my voice 
failed me, and I stood, trembling and 
silent, before him. " Filippo, ' said he, 
*' you see the consequences of disobe- 
dience ; you feel that I have a power to 
punish^ which it is vain for you to provoke 


134: FATAL REVENGE ^ 0«,' 

or to oppose. I know you to be not in- 
capable of reflection, not of a vulgar mind, 
and therefore I deign to reason with you. 
If romantic boys and inquisitive menials 
are permitted to rove about, discovering, 
or inventing wonders, what family can 
repose in honour, what individual can rest 
in peace ? I am not admitting that you can 
discover any thing that would tend but to 
your own confusion ; but even the mis- 
fortunes of an illustrious family, if ex- 
tensively known, involve a species of 
disgrace, from the prejudices of society; 
at least they are unfit for a domestic's 
tongue to sport with, and to scatter 

All he said appeared candid and con- 
descending ; the voice of gentleness, of 
human feeling, was rare and delightful to 
me ; I felt it convey shame and convic- 
tion to me ; I inwardly condemned my- 
self for curiosity and disobedience^ I at- 
tempted to falter out an excuse — he in- 



terrupted me. " It is enough/* said he, 
'' I meant not to crush, but to correct you. 
You have suffered enough ; but as 
long as the influence of your young mas- 
ter might expose you to repeated danger, 
I should be to blame for your second of- 
fence, if I exposed you to it. Go hence, 
therefore, and if gratitude can bind you, 
you are bound to me. Marco here will 
conduct you to the house where my Apu- 
lian steward will call in a few days, to 
bring you with him to my estates there; 
he has my directions to settle you there 
in a situation little inferior to his own, 
where you may learn habits of regularity 
and obedience. Do not oppress me with 
your thanks — I — I do not wish to hear 
them." I attempted to utter some inco- 
herent sounds of gratitude ; but he re- 
pelled me with impatience that confound- 
ed me. '' I will have no more of this — 
1 cannot bear it. Will you not take him 
from me, father?" I forbore to speak. 



" Set out immediately/' said he, '' night is 
the best time : to-morrow will bring you 
to your journey's end; and Marco will be 
your guide." He retired, attended by his 
confessor. " Come, fellow traveller," said 
Marco advancing, " shiJl we set out ? 
night isga(h?ing fast/* 

I i<ow saw him di tlnctly for the first 
time ; he was a strange, ferocious looking 
fellow : I marvelled to see such a one in the 
Count's apartment ; among whose virtues, 
condescension was never very distinguish- 
ed; but every thing around me was mar- 
vellous, and the sight of Marco, as he was 
called, was forgotten in the condescen- 
sion of the Count, and the suddenness of 
my own deliverance. I said I was ready 
to attend him ; but he saw me totter, and 
look weak; he approached the table, 
where stood a flagon of wine : " Come,'' 
said he, '^ this glass to your safe and 
speedy journey ; swallow it man, you will 
have need of courage/' I took the wine 



it SO pale, I thought 1 had beheld you 
going into your tomb ; but 1 had scarce 
time to think of any thing, when I was 
thrust back, as I attempted to follow them, 
and the key turned on me in the passage. 
1 knew not what they intended. I feared 
all things that were terrible. But there 
was a heaviness over me, vvhether it was 
the consequence of the sudden amaze 
that had seized us, or the watching, or the 
strange doings of the night, I know not, 
but I sat down on the ground, and wrap- 
ped my head in my mantle, and continued 
still, but not insensible; it was a strange 
mood, Signor, now that I recal it. I felt 
no fear; I uttered no complaint; yet I 
believed I had not long to live. I listened 
stupidly to steps approaching, though I 
thought they were the steps of some ap- 
pointed to dispatch me. But when I heard 
them comins: vet nearer, and felt that I 
must raise my head, and look on w^hat 
was so near me, I uttered a loud cry, 



though without any distinct notion of 
pain or danger. It was the monk. He 
raised me roughly by the arm, and bid 
me follow him. Queen of heaven ! thro' 
what places did he lead me ! What a prize 
to the inquisition, or to a banditti, w^ould 
this castle be, with its passages and vaults, 
and chambers in the solid wall, without 
window or loop-hole, or a single avenue 
of human comfort, and air that our lamp 
could scarce burn in — air, like the breath- 
ings of a vault ! I felt I should die, die 
a certain and miserable death, if I were 
left there, even without violence or hard- 
ship ; but I tried in vain to obtain from 
the monk the slightest hint of what he 
intended to do with me. Often I thought 
I was as strong as he; that there was no 
one near to assist either of us ; that if I 
even extinguished the light, and trusted 
to the windings of those vaults for conceal- 
ment or escape, it would be better than to 
go ott;. like an o}^ to the slaughter. These 



thoughts often came to me, raid often I 
Jialf-ralsed my eye to the dark face be- 
side me, to see, was it assailabL^ was it 
like the face of man that is liable to 
weakness or danger. But Oh, Sign or. I 
drew it away again without hope. There 
is nothing like man about him. I fear 
no man. I could cling to life, and grapple 
for it as keenly, if I knew my weapons and 
my compeer, as any man in Italy ; but 
when I am near that monk I feel — Oh ! 
I know not how. The air that comes 
from him is chill ; his large dead eye 
fixes me; the tones of his voice come 
over me, like the roll of distant thunder 
at night, when we half fear to listen, and 
half to shut it out. Is he not a strange 
being, Signor ?" said he, turning sudden- 
ly, and fixing his dark eyes, distended 
with fear, on me. '' He is indeed," said 
I involuntarily ; " but (after a pause) 
proceed Filippo." '' Do you believe him 
to be indeed a man like ourselves?" he 



continued, with increased eagerness, and 
visage still lengthening. '' I know not ; 
I cannot tell ; I beseech thee to speak no 
more of him ; go on with thy own nar- 
rative, but mention him as little as possible 
in the course of it/' " Well, Sign or, I 
passed four days in darkness and solitude ,* 
but how shall I proceed, if I am not per- 
mitted to mention the monk ? He was the 
only person I thought of, the only per- 
son I saw, except you. Oh ! Signor, think 
what it is to pass four days in total soli- 
tude, in total darkness, except when he 
visited me with my scanty portion oi 
food ; and then, by the dim light he car- 
ried, I could partly see the vast and shape- 
less darkness of my vault. 'Twas strange, 
Signor, hut I saw it better in his absence. 
When the light was brought into my 
prison, a mist seemed to hang over every 
object ; a kind of tremulous, blue damp- 
ness spread all beyond the edges of that 
pale lamp ; but no sooner was it removed, 



being; therefore I thought of you. All I 
hadso lately felt for myself was transferred 
to you ; it was not sympathy^ Signor, but 
strong remembrance — remembrance of 
the dungeon and the darkiiess, the dim 
lamp, the meal that I scarcely saw, the 
strange faces staring me out of sleep, and 
the toads that I shook ofT as I awoke : all 
this I thought of, and how then could I 
forbear to think on you ? 

Early in the morning we set forward 
again ; we rode through a wild, woody 
country all day, only baiting to sleep in 
the hollow of a chesnut during the heats of 
noon. At the close of evening, we were in a 
thick wood, the tracks were perplexed, and 
appeared as if they were not much fre- 
quented. Marco often paused, and look- 
ed around him with uneasiness and dis- 
trust ; he often checked his mule, and 
looked between the trees^ and listened of- 
ten, as the wind that now began to rise, 
moaned among the branches^ sometimes 



resembling the sounds of a human voice. 
It was to no purpose to ask questions ; his 
utter silence, and the gloom of the even- 
ing, were beginning to make me feel 
strangely, when on a sudden, after mut- 
tering to himself for some time, he spur- 
red his mule on violently; then turning 
round, and bending his head low, he gal- 
lopped on me so quick, that I had 
scarce time to spring out of his way, and 
ask what he meant. '' It was a spring of 
my mule,'* said he, '' cursed jade/' lashing 
the animal, and falling behind me. " I 
had better keep out of your way/' said I, 
crossing into another track. " Aye, aye, 
you had better, if you can," he muttered. 
Then darting forward, he disappeared 
among a thick tuft of brushwood on the 
right. 1 was startled for the first time, at 
this motion, and followed him as fast as I 
could — it was in vain ; he had a better 
knowledge of the wood, and its dark ways ; 
still I pursued him, though in a short time 



I could not even hear the sound of his 
mule's feet. But the wood opening sud- 
denly to the rights I saw a large ruinous 
building, that appeared like the remains 
of a good dwelling, fitted up for the re- 
sidence of a woodman; there were no 
offices about it, no appearances of any- 
country business being exercised by the 
owner, it looked strangely dreary. Mar- 
co was at the door, dismounted, and talk- 
ing to an ill looking man ; both advanced 
when they saw me, with an appearance 
of satisfaction. " This is your host," said 
Marco, '' this is Venanzio. You were 
rarely fi'ightened when I gallopped away 
and left you in the thicket — but I knew 
you would follow the track ; few can miss 
it, that have once set out in it." 

*' It w^as cursed foolish, however, to leave 
him,'' said Venanzio discontentedly, '' he 
might have got away, and all pursuit of 
him be vain. Come, youngman, alight, you 
will not be sorry of a good bed, and quiet 


144 FATAL revenge; OKj 

rest after your ramble to-day." I alit, 
and followed him into a large^ dreary 
room. A flagon of wine was on a large 
rustic table, around which sat one or 
two men, meanly dressed, with that pe- 
culiar staring wildness of face which 
great indigence, and remoteness of situ- 
ation combine to give the inhabitants of 
a deserted country. They seemed unde- 
termined whether or not to go away when 
we entered ; but Venanzio, with an air 
of command, bid them resume their seats. 
They sat down again^ eying me surlily. 
There was a miserable old woman in the 
room, busied in a dark corner of it, who 
also looked at me from time to time, with 
a peculiar expression, of which I could 
not tell whether the meaning was hatred 
or fear. 

We sat round the table, and drank; little 
was said ; and that little was broken and 
distant, full of allusions I could not un- 
derstand ; but which the rest seemed 
to consider as very significant. Marco^ 
2 drawing 


drawing back his chair, measured me 
with a slow and steady look, from head to 
foot; and then nodding to Venanzio, 
began twisting his fingers into a knot, and 
drawing them afterv/ards with a straining 
motion together ; Venanzio only grasped 
the hilt of his stiletto firmly, but both de- 
sisted suddenly, when they beheld me 
looking: at them. 

There came a boding sickness over 
me ; I struggled with it, for I knew 
not why I felt so. I attempted a con- 
versation, for we had sunk to monosyl- 
lables and silent looks. The name of 
Venanzio I thought was familiar. '^ Cer- 
tainly,*' said I to the host, '' I have heard 
your name before, though your name- 
sake does not do it much credit.'' ^' Very 
possibly you might," said he. '' The 
person to whom 1 allude," said I, *' was 
a famous assassin, in Messina; his atro- 
cities were the most numerous and ex- 
traordinary I ever heard of." '' V/hy do 

VOL. II, « you 

14G FATAL revenge; ok, 

you say xvere," said one of the fellows, *^ 1 
hear he is alive, and as wicked as ever." 
'^ Oh, curse him,'* said another, ''^ I could 
forgive him any thing, but cheating his 
comrades, as he did, when they had so 
handsome a price for their work." 

Venanzio looked surlily; "Perhaps," 
said he, '' he was ill paid himself." '' You 
seem to mistake me," said I, " the person 
of whom I speak, was no mechanic ; he was 
an assassin." " Well," said one of them, 
*' and don't you know, that such a one 
must have assistants; aye, and pay them 
\vell too (darting an angry look across 
the table), and must have work too — aye, 
bloody work, tearing work ! ah, ah, 
ah I" (cutting out large splinters of the 
table with a clasp knife, and forcing a 
horrid laugh). ^"^ Lut of this man," said 
I, though 1 scarce knew how to proceed, 
" I heard he baffled every pursuit of jus- 
tice, and after numberless murders and 
assassinations, being traced to the very 



sea-shore, hid himself in the tackle of a 
fishing vessel, and when the poor fisher- 
man had begun to coast along the shore 
by night, with a lamp at his stern ( for that 
is the mode of fishing there), Venanzio 
staited up, and compelled him to put out, 
and stand for Naples ; and on their arrival, 
immediately murdered his unfortunate 
pilot, lest he should betray him ; and 
interring him in the sand, changed his 
name, and betook himself in disguise to 
the woods — this I learnt was his last ex- 
ploit." '' No, no, this will not be his 
last exploit, friend," said on« of them, 
'' take my word for it.*' " You seem to 
know him," said I. " Too well," '^ Have 
you been a sufferer by him ?" '' Incalcula- 
ble," said he, shaking his head. ^' Do 
you ever see him now ?" said I, pursuing 
him with simple importunity. " As plain 
as I see any one at this table," said he, 
'^ And do you believe him to be alive 
still }" " As sure as our host there 
H 2 is 

148 FATAL reve^'ge; or, 

is alive/' said he. '^Come/* said Venan- 
zio;, abruptly, '^ enough of my namesake ; 
perhaps, like many others, he is driven by 
want to blood; without doubt, he re- 
pents by this time being entangled with 
ruffians, who suspect, and watch, and in- 
sult; but of whom he may one day get 
rid, as he has done of other incumbrances/' 
Two of them began to growl in a lower 
key at this, and the third, whose face was 
peculiarly savage, said, '' Aye, aye, few 
men know how better to throw off incum- 
brances than Venanzio ; his life belongs 
to the hangman, his soul to Lucifer, and 
his honour to the first man that will offer 
him a dollar to cut his own father's 

He ended this sentence with a burst of 
wild sound, so unlike laughter, that it 
chilled the blood ; yet it evidently spoke 
defiance and contemptuous hatred. '' His 
honour,'* said Venanzio, uneasily, *' is un» 
impaired; he never betrayed or threat- 


ened his comrades." ''No/' said the 
other, eagerlV:, " he is content to use 
ihem so ill, that it is not in his power to 
threaten ; and to rob them so iinmerci- 
fullv, that it is not v/orth his while to 
betray them/' The others joined him in 
the conclusion of this sentence, with 
emphatic bitterness, yet with a kind of 
forced and savage derision ; their visages 
were inflamed, and their voices hoarse 
and broken. 

Our host seemed to pause and bethink 
himself for a moment, then suddenly 
resting his arms on the table, and looking 
them stedfastly in the face, he said in a 
quick, decisive voice, '' I'll tell you, com- 
rades, one thing of this Venanzio, which 
shews he was a sensible, clear-headed 
knave : — there were two or three dogs, 
that he kept sometimes to bark, and 
sometimes to bite; now and then he 
threw them a bone to pick, which they 
did not think was enough, for their services.. 


150 FATAL revenge; ORj 

They took particular care, whenever he 
had any lushuss to do, to howl, and 
snarl, and disturb him ; if a strnnffer 
canie into their kennel, the whole set 
were in an uproar; all wxre raving to 
gnaw his bones, and lap his blood, before 
Venanzio had time to carve him, and give 
every one their share; whereat,'* (said 
he, stretching his brawny arm at full 
length on the table), " he one night ad- 
dressed them thus: ' Look'ye, ye blood 
hounds, if ever I hear ye ag?in open your 
throats, by the holy cross, I'll stop them 
with cold iron. Don't ye know, with a curse 
to you, that I am the life of you, that my 
name only preserves you from the pursuit 
of justice, lodges you, feeds you, employs 
you ; that if I am lost, ye are undone ; that 
no one will employ such miscreants, but 
as spies, and then strangle them for their 
information. Where will ye go then, or 
what will ye do ? Your chain is galling, 
and your food is bad ; but what can such 



mongrels as you expect. No one would 
employ you, but to misuse and maltreat 
you ; no one would keep you but to 
trample on you. Your only employment 
would be to fly at beggars, and mangle 
women and children; and, if ever you 
stole from your haunts, fire, and sword, and 
poison, and curses, would pursue you, and 
blast and scatter you, till the very crows and 
vultures would clap their wings in despair, 
as they flew over you. Do you not know 
this, dogs? Hounds of blood and hell, 
do you not know this, and will you dare 
to growl ?" 

His fury was terrible. He ro^e erect ; 
he stamped; his hairs bristled ; his eyes 
flashed ; his voice was a roar ; he smote 
the table with a violence that made thii 
pannels start asunder. '' I heard the dogs 
grew quite peaceable after that," said 
Marco. " He watched them still, for he 
knew they were but dogs," said Venanzio, 
with wrathful and venomous bitterness. 


152 rATAL revenge; or^ 

His speech was so sudden, so vehement 
so voluble, that I listened with stupid 
astonishment ; I tried in vain to fo]lo\f 
the metaphor, for his passion had broke 
it; I knew not at whom the torrent was 
directed ; it seemed to awe the souls of 
every one present ; all tliat had heard him 
shuddered, and were silent. 

But in^ the pause that followed, when 
the thunder of his voice died away, I be- 
gan to comprehend, slowly and painfully, 
the meaning of all I saw. But the sting 
of agony was so piercing, so sudden, that 
I shook off the thought, as I would shake 
a reptile from my hand. It was too ter- 
rible to be believed — a gush of heat came 
over me, and then a deadly cold ; my 
teeth chattered, though my cheeks were 
burning ; cold, big drops of sweat stood 
Gii my forehead. I swallowed my glass 
eagerly, and then r.nother, and still I 
was ]ike one in a dream, who sees a 
liidecus hce, and tries to shut it out, 



but feels it spreading, and growing on 
him, and starii g at him from every side,, 
till it seems actually to get within his 
eyes, and mount into his brain, and 
madden him. So I felt that thought ; 
still I resisted it, yet still it was in my 

" I am tired, I w^ould be glad to see 
my room/' said I, rising, with that hope- 
less effort that looks for relief in the 
mere act of motion. '' You shall see it/' 
said Veiianzio, rising. " Ho ! Bianca,. 
bring a light.' The old woman brought 
a light, which she held close to my 
face as she passed mc. Eer own re- 
sembled that of a sorceress. Ker earthy 
skin, her sunk red eyes,, her ragged hair,. 
with a peculiar look of glaring malignity,, 
blazed fullon me as she passed. My heart, 
sunk within me. I followed Venanzio^ 
up a flight of narrow, ruinous stairs. He- 
opened a door to the leSt, and led me 
into a room, like the rest, dark and wide.. 
The bed was in a remote corner of it. 


154 PATAL hev^nge; or, 

Involuntarily, I glanced at the windows 
that were high, and well secured. They 
were the only part of the building that 
seemed in repair. '^ This is your room," 
said Venanzio, " I wish you quiet rest in 
it.*' I turned to him as he spoke, to 
read hope or fear in his face ; but he 
held the light so high, that 1 saw only 
his dark head and brows as he bent over 
the bed. 

••' Stay,"' said I, as he was quilting the 
room, '' I will go down and take another 
liagon with you." 1 was unwilling yet 
to be alone, though I had every thing to 
fear from these men. Yet still their 
presence gave me a kind of nameless re- 
fuge. I had a faint hope too, that I 
might have misinccrpreted doubtful ex- 
pressions or unpromising faces; and to 
the hope that flatters us with life, v/ho 
would not cling as long as he can ? 
Venanzio did not resist my going down. 
1 was descending the stairs, when the old 

''.. woman 


woman called out to me, that I had left 
my cloak in the chamber. " Go you and 
fetch it for him," said Venanzio. Grasp- 
ing at every omen that accident might 
give, I soon passed the old woman, who 
seemed to halt on purpose, and entered 
the room. I searched for my cloak all 
around it in vain. The old woman call- 
ed out to me to examine a particular 
corner. I did so ; and by the lamp, that 
I still held, I perceived that corner was 
dyed in blood. My own seemed to flow 
back on my heart. Venanzio called loud- 
ly for the light. I tottered down stairs ; 
but he was gone. My eyes were dim, 
and when 1 reached the foot of the stairs. 
I no longer distinguished the passages , 
they were dark and intricate. I wander- 
ed along without perceiving the direction 
I took, till I was startled by the pecu- 
^,liar dreariness and loneliness of the part 
«of the building . I had reached. The 
^wind whistled after, me -^with a boding 
hix^ cry 

156 FATAL revfnge; or, 

cry, and the ruinous casements rattled 
as if they were shaken by some forcible 
hand. I paused. The thought of escape 
came into my mind. All around me 
seemed deserted; and I felt, that if I 
could once get into the forest, I should 
have wings like a bird. I stepped on 
quick and lightly. The passage termi- 
nated in a low door at some distance. 
I approached it. It was open. But as 
I drew near, I distinguished voices within, 
the voices of Marco and Venanzio. I 
had rather have heard the hissing of a 
serpent. Oh ! 'tis a most dark and soul- 
sinking feeling, when you know every 
human being near you, every one who 
^^ould help or comfort, who could un- 
derstand or unite with you, is armed 
with a mortal purpose again t you ; and, 
s;ecrct]y or forcibly, will, and must over- 
come you. Hopeless of escaping in any 
other direction that communicated with 
the more iniiabited parts of the building, 



and anxious to gather what I could from 
their conversation, I lingered at the door. 
They spoke in that low, muttering tone, 
that it is terrible to listen to ; but my 
hearing was so quickened by apprehen- 
sion, that I did not lose a syllable. 

" Where is he now ?" said Marco. " He 
is above, not half-pleased with his apart- 
ment.'* " He will be less so, when he 
finds it is to be the last he shall occu- 
py ; but why wait till he retires to rest ?" 
'* I am afraid your retreats are suspected. 
I have observed more travellers passing 
near it than could have business in this 
wild wood ; and I wish to have no voice 
or struggling till it is dark, and no tra- 
veller near. 'Twas for that reason 1 blam- 
ed your leaving him in the wood. He 
might have escaped; he might have ta- 
ken a hint from that gloomy visage of 
your's, and fied ; for, after so many years 
residence, a child might baffle me in the 
windings of this wood; and then^the first 


158 FATAL revenge; or, 

intelligence we should have got of him, 
would have been a stiletto in your heart 
for suffering him to escape." *' How 
could I avoid it ? By my soul, 1 was 
as much alarmed as you^ your not 
meeting me at the place, owing to Nicolo's 
blunders. Besides I had almost forgotten 
the track. The fellow is almost as able 
as I am ; and. Til warrant, would have 
grappled fiercely for his life. Once I 
was in the mind to have put him out oi^ 
pain. I found my mule full a-head, and 
galloped on him ; and if I could have 
thrown him to the ground, I would have 
dispatched him with a few strokes of the 
stiletto; but he sprung on one side, and 
avoided me." " And did he continue to 
Tide with you still ?" "He did ; he seems 
to have no suspicions, or Zeno and the 
rest would have alarmed him with their 
hints, and you with your fury in the cham- 
ber below. Ha! ha! ha I I could have 
laughed to hear him question so gravely. 


a man, about his own exist ance, and fell* 
ing him stories of himself. Or do you 
think he was beginning to discover who 
you were, and tried that n^ethod to cer- 
tify himself ** I know not. He ap- 
pears simple and inapprehensive. Yet 
just now, in the chamber, I thought I 
saw a dark shade cross his countenance. 
His cheek was white, and his lip shook. 
But my eyes are none of the best. 
Strange things somelimes seem to pass 
before them ; that cursed old hag too — 
but I may be mistak.^n. I thought she 
left his cloak purposely in the corner 
where the m.onk was murdered, that he 
might take notice of the blood." '^ Aye, 
that was the business that incensed Zeno 
and the rest.'' '' Aye," repeated Venan- 
zio, angrily, '^ the rapacious dastards — 
they think, if they cut the throat of an 
unarmed peasant, or burn a hovel now 
and then, they have a right to the same 
rewards with men that have been employ- 


ed by the first nobility, that have made 
princes keep them in humour and in pay, 
that have dispeopled a \sho1e country by 
their mere name — the villains ! because 
I have been hunted to this dark den, 
where I live in poverty and ^'ear, and am? 
sunk to the cutting the throat of a wretch- 
ed, single domestic — they think'' 

" Hush, hush, was that the wind ? it sound- 
ed like a human groan: whU dreary 
sounds come along these passages ! " *' Ha ! 
ha ! why, your cheek is as pale as your 
fellow travellers. It would cure you of 
these fancies to live as 1 do here, listen^ 
ing to the sounds thcit sweep through this 
old building, and to others, of which I 
dare not think whence they coine/' " In 
the name of heaven, are you so beset ?^ 
Why, it were better to follow our busi- 
ness in the heart of a populous city, as 
we did at Messina. There, v/e were only 
posted *n the corner of a street tome dark, 
night, and when v/e had disposed of ihe 



body quietly, in some vault, or ruinous 
building, we could resort to jollity, to 
some house of entertainment, and drink 
away the memory of the night's work, 
as soon as we washed the blood off our 
hands." '^ Aye, aye, but here, in the de- 
serted haunts, in the dark forests, thoughts 
come to me that never eame to me in 
Messina. I am not the man I was. Tis 
not that I repent. No. By the mass I 
am no fiincher. If the fathers of the In- 
quisition were preaching to me, they 
would not get me so much as to mutter a 
pater noster, or to sign a cross, though 
often, often I do it unawares, through 
fear, and in the weakness of the moment. 
But yet I know not how I feel. Marco, 
you know I am no visionary. Will you 
believe me, when I tell you what I saw 
the other evening, as 1 sat in this chair, 
when the wind moaned through the ches- 
nut trees, just as it does this evening .?" 



Marco changed his posture to listen to 
the story. I moved away mechanically. 
It was not that I had a distinct fear of 
his presence. I believe had they both 
rushed out on me, I could neither have 
resisted nor deceived them. I could not 
think a thought ; but I staggered away, as 
from an intuitive and mortal sensation of 
dread at the sight or step of the murderers. 
I know not how I got down the passage, 
nor up stairs again ; but I did so, and re- 
collect leaving my lamp on the floor with 
the same quiet regularity as if I should 
ever have occasion for its light again ; but 
then all sensation appeared to leave me. 
There was no doubt, nor shadow of hope ; 
no refuge in thought for me. I knew all, 
and knew it all at once, and the worst at 
once; I should never leave that apart- 
ment ; a few moments were all 1 had to 
live ; death, sudden, unexpected death, 
what a desolating thought ! how it sweeps 



the whole soul ofman, with every resource 
of strength or hope, away. My eyes dart- 
ed fire, visibly. I felt the sparks. My 
teeth chattered. Every pore was so wide, 
that 1 felt the cold, thick drops of sweat 
that every one sent forth. My hair rose, 
every hair sore with distinctness, and hiss- 
ing on my head like a serpent. I gasp- 
ed for breath. It was true and proper 
death that I thought was overtaking me. 
1 tried to stir, but every limb was palsied. 
I tried to speak, and could only make a 
faint inward croak in my chest. The 
lamp, the ceiling, the floor, became ten- 
fold and a hundred-fold in a minute ; and 
then disappeared at once. I know not 
how long I remained in this state, but 
surely, whenever I die, I shall twice taste 
the bitterness of death. I recovered at 
once. I was so fully awake, so conscious 
of all I heard and knew, that I sprung oa 
my feet lest they should enter and take 
advantage of my helpless posture. I 

r looked 

164 FATAL rkvenge; or, 

looked and listened around me. All was 
still, save the wind^ that was now be- 
coming tempestuous, and whose hollow 
rush came along the passage of my cham- 
ber like the sound of garments and foot- 
steps, and waved the tall trees, whose sha- 
dows crossed the casement, making strange 
motions to a fearful eye. 

As I listened still, though hopeless of 
hearing a sound of comfort, I thought 
voices beneath the casement came scat- 
tering on the wind. They might be tra- 
vellers in the forest ; they might be those 
of whom Venanzio spoke. With the 
eagerness of sudden hope I climbed into 
the window -seat, and, holding by the bars, 
looked below. There was a dim moon, 
often hid by the clouds that were driven 
along the sky ; nor was twilight wholly 
gone. Below, I could at first see nothing 
but the tuft of trees ; but as I looked 
closer, I saw a man, whose cloak, ruffled 
by the wind, I had at first taken for a 



branch. He held something in his hand 
which I could not distinguish. In a short 
time he was joined by another, whose 
head was bare. Their voices came up 
distinct and clear. The latter was Ven- 

" What are you doing here/' said he, 
'' always loitering when work is to be 
done." '* I have not loitered/* said the 
other, sullenly ; '' look at this mattock, 
and then look at the stubbed, tangled 
roots of this pine. Do you call it loiter- 
ing to have dug the grave in such 
ground as this ?" " It is not long enough/' 
(stooping to measure it: Oh ! I saw 
every motion he made). '' Lengthen it 
yourself, then/' said the other, throwing 
down the mattock, '' a man were better 
work for the devil than you. Can I not 
dig a grave now } I was captain of as bold 
a band as ever trooped at a signal, when 
you were pitching up ducats in Messina 
for a coward's blow, and a flight in the 
2 dark." 

160 FATAL rev^ekge; or, 

dark.'* '^ Well, well, we need not quarrel ; 
we both have seen better days and better 
work, than butchering a sorry lackey ; and 
yet that fellow appears inclined to give 
us work too. He will require your bony 
arms, or Zeno's, to give him a firm gripe 
by the throat." " " Will you not stab him, 
then ?" '' No, I'll have no more blood 
spilt ; it stains the rooms, and gives stran- 
gers hints that it would be our wisdom to 
hide from them. You know how sudden- 
ly the pilgrims left us the other evening, 
of whom we thought ourselves sure. List, 
Nicolo, I'll have him strangled as soon as 
he is asleep. We will go and have an- 
other flagon in the room under him, and 
watch till he has lain down." '' By my 
soul, I would rather meet a man armed 
with a dagger, and strive with him hand 
to hand, than strangle a sleeping man. I 
am not myself for a month after. The 
black and siaring face, the set teeth, the 
forced-out eyes, are with me wherever I 



turn. Maria ! do you remember the last 
man that perished in that room ? -stilly 
how he struggled, and gasped, and tore 
out handfuls of Marco's hair in his 
agonies ! he was horridly strong ; the 
wojTse for him : there was no crushins: 
lifie out of him. He heaved as we laid 
him on the ground; his eyes have never 
been off me since ; I see them in the 
dark. Holy mother ! they are glaring on 
me from that pit — look — look — Venan- 
zio.'* '^ Away you fool; and what if they 
were ? Can the eyes of the dead stab 
you?" '' They can, they can; take that 
mattock ; I would not look into that hole 
again for the whole price of this nights 
work." '' Ha ! ha ! li: ten to the blast that 
howls aftefr you. Is that the dead man's 
cry? Ha! ha!" 

He pursued the scared ruffian with an 
hideous laugh. 1 let go the bars in utter 
agony and helplessness of soul, and fell 
op the floor. I had heard my death (ieU r- 


168 FATAL revenge; or, 

mined. I had seen my own grave dug ; 
a sad sight, that few living men behold. 
Before the lamp burnt out, before the 
blast died away, before another hour, I 
should be a corse, swoln, and stretched, 
and «tark. My mind ran with astonish- 
ing swiftness through every circumstance 
of the past days. Oh ! how I cursed 
your father's barbarity, for one offence, 
so trivial and easy to be prevented for 
the future, to send me to a distance, where 
no cry could reach a human ear, to be 
butchered by cannibals ; to disarm me by 
such promises and condescension ; to keep 
me immured till I was weak and pliant ; to 
leave me without the means of resistance 
or escape. Oh ! hov/ I cursed my own 
folly to trust him ; not to profit by the 
many hints my dark companion gave; to 
go on like a sheep to the shambles. I 
recalled every circumstance that had es- 
caped them, hinting the past possibility 
of my safety ; I could have fled into the 

wood I 


Vood ; I could have struggled with Mar- 
co, '* I was almost as able as he :" nay, 
yet — yet I might escape in the windings 
of the wood, if it w^re possible to reach it. 
All these thoughts, and a million more, 
came to me so clear, so keen, so stinging, 
that I w^as almost mad. Oh, the bitterness 
of feeling life lost by one moment's fol- 
ly, and not to be recovered by the fullest 
stretch of thought and action after. 

I seemed to myself to have thrust away 
my safety with both hands, and to 
have hunted and pursued away every 
chance of life, and run headlong into the 
snare that closed on me, and shut me 
round for ever. After a moment's sober 
and severe pain, I started into actual phren- 
sy; I ran round the room, striking the 
walls, and grappling with the v/indows, 
and gnashing my teeth with the rage of 
madness. I am astonished they did not 
hear the uproar I made. at length, I be- 
gan to look round me more calmly; but 
VOL. II. I still 


Still with the fiery penetration, and glaring 
eagerness of real insanity. I am con- 
vinced I was mad, yet one idea was still 
so clearly present and powerful with me, 
that I felt I was capable of exerting every 
force of my soul and body, while it con* 
tinued to stimulate me. There was no 
furniture in the room ; nothing that could 
present either a weapon of defence, or 
means of escape. Despairing, but still 
with forcible and unremitting intentness, 
in the dusky walls and floor it was not 
easy to discover any object ; but poring 
on the latter by the light of the lamp, I 
discovered a pannel, with a ring in it ; it 
resembled a trap-door. I had little doubt 
of the use of such an instrument in such 
a place, and as little hope, that I could 
long lie hid in any place to which it might 
conduct me ; yet still active from the rest- 
lessness of misery, 1 began to raise it, and 

Ti^re was a dark cavity below, that I 



judged ran between the flooring of one 
room, and the ceiling of that below, which 
might possibly continue to some distance, 
or be connected with other cavities and 
passages. I got down, and scrambled to 
some distance in it ; it was filled up with 
rubbish, which I struggled through, half 
stifled with the dust; but I soon found 
my passage obstructed ; some soft sub- 
stance was presented to my hand ; slowly 
and cautiously I withdrew it, and crawl- 
ing backwards, brought it out with me ; 
the lamp was still on the floor, and by its 
light, I perceived I held a heap of bloody 
and decayed garments, pierced with more 
holes than those of decay. As I gazed on 
^t, a wild blast shook the door, and raved 
round the walls; the flame of the lamp 
shivered, and blazed athwart and over- 

I locked around in terrible expectation 

of the wearer of the garments, that told 

a dark story, appearing to witness the 

I 9 discovery ; 

17 "2 TATAL REVENGE ,* 0R, 

<liscovery ; strange shadows played on the 
wallsj as the lamp burnt clear. After many 
bickerings, I replaced the garments, and 
again |^ endeavoured to grop my way 
through the passage, in which I discovered 
a light, on my second attempt ; I crept 
on, and found by the sound, as well as the 
light, that it came through the broken 
ceiling of the room below, where the 
whole group were assembled, and seen 
distinctly through many an aperture. I 
heard my name often repeated, and saw 
some motions horribly significant when 
it was repeated. The blast was now so 
loud, and howled so fiercely through the 
broken rafters, over which I leaned, that 
I could not distinguish any thing of their 
discourse, but my name; nor perhaps, 
even that, had not my senses been quick- 
ened to that exquisite keenness, which the 
solicitude to overhear a conference about 
your own life, can alone prodyce. 

In a short time^ I began to think I might 



perhaps make a better use of this passage^ 
than merely to overhear a conversation, of 
which I ah-eady knew the probable pur- 
port but too well ; — I crept on therefore 
with breathless caution, and found, to my 
inexpressible, joy, that I had passed the 
room where they were assembled. The 
apertures were now more numerous, and 
I conjectured I was near some ruinous, 
and perhaps neglected part of ihe build- 
ing, from which escape might — might be 
possible ; my obstructions grew fewer 
too, and the passage itself wider and I 
had no doubt of its being purposely coi:- 
structed, and having therefore some cer- 
tain outlet. As 1 crawled on, I again per- 
ceived a faint light beneath, supported 
between two beams; I applied my eye 
to the largest hole Hear me, and perceived 
it proceeded from a dim lamp that burned 
at some distance below : the lioht it save 
was so faint, that it was long before I 
Gould distinguish it burned in a lars 


so: a to 

174 paTal jievekge; ok^ 

solate room, in the corner of which lay 
an obscure figure, stretched on a palle . 
I^azed long before I could discover so 
much, and it was not till the figure turn- 
ed, that I had a view of the most wasted, 
and ghastly form I ever beheld, covered 
with rags that were steeped in blood. 
As the wind howled round his comfortless 
bed, I could distinctly hear his groans 
mingling with it. For a moment I be- 
lieved him to be some victim of theruffinn- 
band — but why then should his life be 
spared > At all events, 1 perceived this 
wretched object was in no condition either 
to resist, or even to givf an alarm to the rest : 
ti|e ciies he uttered, v/ere the weak tones of 
one Vv/orn with pain ; if therefore, I could 
let my self down into his room with safe- 
ty, I had little douBt of escaping. His 
apartment must be near the extremity of 
{he building, and I heard the casements 
shake in the wind. I felt such a resolution 
must be achieved in a moment; the murder- 


ers were now drinking, the storm was high, 
and the sufferer incapable of opposition ; 
yet, not one of these drciimstances might 
continue to favour me a moment longer. 

I began to examine the largest aperture, 
through which, when sufficiently opened^ 
I was to descend ; when I was checked by 
a loud noise from below — I desisted — a 
door opened, and one of those 1 had seen 
below entered with a lamp and some pro- 
visions, which he placed near the sick 
man, v^ho appeared to decline intrni. Tl.c 
other spoke a few words of encouragement 
to him, from which I discovered, that the 
sufferer was one of tlie band who had 
been woundel in some late attempt, and 
v/ho w^as now linsrerino: under the fester- 
i«g tortures of his wounds w^ithout relief 
or hope, as they were apprehensive to 
procure assistance was to hazard disco- 
very. After some careless consolation, he 
w^ho brought the food was preparing to 
depart; but the other, in the infirmity of 


176 fATAL hevenge; ok, 

suffering, besought him to stay a few 
moments. "I cannot/' said he, surlily, 
'' I must be gone, we have business on our 
hands to-night. There is one lodged near 
you, who in half an hour must change his 
resting-place for a cold and bloody bed 
in the forest.'' (In half an hour! Who 
that has not heard his death denounced^ 
and felt how dreadful it is to know and 
measure the approach of death can tell 
what I felt at these words ? ) '' Oh, Savior 
io," gro-incd the penitent villain, '' talk 
not of those things to me; how can you 
mention them, and look on me stretched 
here, and think how soon the judgment 
of God may visit you for these things, 
as it has overtaken me/' Saviolo replied 
only by a muttered oath at his lamp, 
which a blast of wind had almost extin^ 
guished. '' Oh," continued the dying 
man, " if I could but have the benefit of 
some holy man ; if I could but see a cru- 
cif.x, and be taught one short prayer be 



fore I go hence — dark and dreadful things 
are on my conscience ; no one knows 
what I know ; I have more than the petty 
murders of an obscure villain to unfold ; 
I was engaged in a horrid conspiracy 
against the peace and honour of a noble 
youth ; Oh, there were things once, that 
would deceive the devil, to deceive and 
ruin him, and I fear they have succeededJ' 
Again Saviolo cursed his lamp, which was 
almost extinguished, and looking around 
fastened his eyes on the ceiling,, through 
whose many holes the wind rushed in 
every direction. 

I saw him eye it suspiciously, and I 
drew back for a moment, terrified at. the 
delay which his observation occasioned, 
for a half an hour's chance for life, who 
would lose a moment ? and till he left the 
apartment, no attempt could be made. 
He was again preparing to depart, when 
the sick man shrieked to him to. stay; 
*' Oh, stay," said he, " for the love of the 
I 5 mother 

178 FATAL reVsnce; ok, 

mother of God, stay with me a moment) 
he is comiixgr I hear him in the wind." 
'^ Who is coming/* said Saviolq, stopping, 
and turning pale, as the light he bore 
glared on his strong visage. "^ The wick- 
ed one, the wicked one ; he is with me 
every night; sometimes he stands beside 
me^ and sometimes he rises through the 
floor before me ; Oh, he is ever — ever 
with me, and soon I must be with him,'* 

** Peace, peace, you driveller, turn to the 
wall, and close your eyes, and try to rest ; 
and look, if you should hear any cries with 
in half an hour don't come crawling from 
your bed as you did the last time, with 
those bloody swathes'scaring us all before 
the work was well done." *' Oh, Saviolo, 
dear, good, blessed fellow, do not leave 
me for a moment — for one moment ; I see 
a hoof coming through the curtain." 

Saviolo rushed out of the room with a 
curse, that shook it, and the conscience- 
-smitten wretch shrunk uoder his rags. 



Now was the time ; one was gone with 
precipitation, and the other would pro- 
bably shrink from any thing he might see 
or hear moving near him. I had but 
half an hour to work for life. I began 
quietly, biK swiftly to remove large flakes 
of plaster, which were so dry, that I found 
little difficulty in removing them, and the 
thin laths to which they were attached. In a 
short time I had displaced enough to admit 
an arm or leg : I was afraid of making too 
wide a breach, as the materials were so in- 
firm, I feared they might sink under me, 
and supported myself on a beam while 
I loosened them. I tried to let myself 
down ; the breach admitted me easily, and 
the beam supported me firmly. In the de- 
lirium of my joy, I was unable for a mo- 
ment to proceed ; I was obliged to wipe 
away the tears of joy, that prevented me 
from seeing my progress. I now mea- 
sured the distance cautiously. I had at 
least twelve feet to fall, for the room was 


180 FATAL revenge; O^y 

lofty; such a fall, however, could neither 
stun nor hurt me. I only dreaded the 
noise might alarm the ruffians ; this how- 
ever, was not to be avoided. I determined 
immediately on my descent to rush across 
the room, and spring through the window, 
or if possible to prevail on the wounded 
man, who appeared averse from blood, to 
inform me, in what direction I might 

I now let myself down silently, but ex- 
peditiously. The wounded man gave no 
sign of notice ; I neither heard him star 
r.or moan ; I had sunk on the beams^ 
till only my elbows were supported, and 
was endeavouring to detach those, and 
let myself drop, when by some untoward 
motion, a large heap of the rubbish L 
had removed fell through the hole with 
a loud noise, and part lit on the bed, The 
frighted v/retch screamed aloud, and 
continued his cries so long, that though 
my intention was to leap do wn^ and im- 


plore him to be silent^ I heard steps ap- 
proaching before I could execute it, or 
draw myself back, almost^ iuto my hiding 

Saviolo re-entered, as usual, with a 
curse in his mouth ; but I found the pur- 
port of his return, was not to sooth, but to 
threaten the sick man ; and with horror I 
l^eard him say, " Curse on your clamours^ 
you will waken the man that is to be 
murdered, and give him a hint of where 
he is; and then we shall have a struggle, 
instead of finishing him as he lies." The 
terrified creature averred with earnest re- 
petitions, that some one must be in the 
room, from the noise he had heard, and 
from the violence the roof appeared to 
have sustained. Saviolo appeared little 
inclined to believe him ; the noises he said 
were imaginary, and the roof had been 
shattered by the storm ; '' For just over 
your head, there is a passage between 
the stories of the building, with the ex- 

2 tent 

182 FATAL revenge; OK, 

tent of which none of us are acquainted, 
and through which the wind rushes with 
terrible fury; but at all events/' he con* 
tinued, " as they will not \Vant me in this 
business, I shall stay with you, and pre- 
vent you from crying out, till it is over; 
they will have struggling enough ' with 
him, there is no occasion to wake and put: 
him on his guard/' 

Oh, blessed virgin, and St. Pliilip, with 
what agony I heard him cutting off my 
last retreat, shutting up my last narrow 
breathing hole of life. He would stay, 
and it was impossible to descend ; he was 
a brawny, resolute fellow, a weaker man 
struggling for life, might indeed have 
overcame him, but I was unarmed; he 
had a poniard, and pistols stuck in his 
belt, and the very mode of my escape 
would expose me, as in descending I 
should probably fall. I lingered a few 
moments in the mere vacancy of despair, 
and then heard him tell the sick man, 



Zeno was about to go up, and discover 
whether the stranger was asleep, and that 
if he were, he was to inform the person 
appointed to strangle him, who would 
dispatch him immediately. 

At this terrible intelligence, I was al- 
most ready to dash myself d^wn, and trust 
to a desperate chance of safety, for every 
probable. one had disappeared ; I was en- 
closed on every side, death actually stared 
me in the face. The immediate danger, 
however, I felt an irresistible impulse to 
escape from. If any of them should visit 
my room, and find it empty, he would 
quickly discover my retreat, and I should 
be butchered in that dusky hole without 
a struggle ; back therefore, I crept, withowt 
a single hope to direct the motion ; but 
with a blind resistance of inevitable evil, 
half smothered by the dust and rubbish, I 
scrambled through, crushing at every 
touch the eggs of the little domestic ser- 
pents, and displacing the nests of lizards 


1S4 rATAL revenge; on, 

and toads^ whose cold slime made me 
shuddei*^ as I crawled amongst them. 

At length, I reached my own apart- 
ment, and as I raised myself out of the 
trap-door, and caught the lamp that burn- 
ed still beside it, 1 almost expected some 
hand would push me back into the cavity. 
The room was empty, and no one had been 
there in my absence. After a moment's 
debate, 1 rose, shut the 1 rap-door, 
placed the lamp on the table, and threw 
myself on the bed, concerting with calm 
desperation my last plan of deliverance. 
I had scarce lain down, when I heard a 
slow, heavy tread on the stairs ; though 
I had arranged something like a means of 
escape, and though part of it was to admit 
Zeno into the room without resistance, 
as his intentions were not immediately 
murderous ; yet there is no telling the 
agony with which I heard him approach — 
certainly approach, nor the miserable 
watchfulness with which I struggled to 



distinguish whether the steps were real, 
or whether I was deceived by the wind, 
whose force had made the ruinous stairs 
creak all night — it xvas a step, the step of 
the man who came to see was I prepared 
for murder. He came up softly, a^id I 
heard him pause at the door, and withdraw 
the bolts slowly, like one w^ho fears to dis- 
turb a sleeper ; I heard him in the room> 
I felt him approach the bed. I counter- 
feited deep sleep; as he came nearer, I 
c?Lperienced a horrid sensation, like that 
which accompanies the oppression of the 
night-m.are ; it was the struggle of na.- 
lure within me ; my resolution was to 
lie still, but nature moved within me to 
struggle or to fly. He came close to me, 
J heard him keeping in his breath ; he bent 
over me, holding his lamp almost close to 
rny face. I thought this might be a trial 
whether my sleep w^as counterfeited ; but I 
'dared not stir. I would have given the world 
to have looked at him under my eye-lids 


IS6 FATAL revenge; or, 

at that moirfcnt; to have seen the ex- 
pression o^ his face, whether there was 
compassion or any relenting in it; but 
I dared not. Yet at this moment, while 
I yet doubted but he was examining 
whether he could not do the deed himself, 
and that, in the next instant, I should 
feel his stiletto in me before I even saw 
it drawn. Even at that moment, will you 
believe me, Signor ? an irresistible pro- 
pensity to laughter spread itself over my 
face ; over my face I say, for in my heart 
was nothing but despair; yet was it ir- 
resistible ; my features relaxed into some- 
thing that felt to me like the motion of 
laughter, but struggling v;ith the pertur- 
bation of fear, and the paleness of ex- 
pected death. It appeared so different to 
him, that muttering inwardly, " Poor 
wretch! he sleeps uneasily," he withdrew^ 1 
his lamp and quitted the room. I did not 
even dare to turn on my side, or un- 
close my eyes till he had shut the door. 

I counted 


I counted his steps down stairs, and then 
rose instantly. I had no refuge now but 
in myself. All that intervened between 
me and death was removed. The next 
visitor was to have my blood. 

I hastened to the door, and secured it 
as well as I could. This was a means 
of delay, if not of defence. I then extin- 
guished myl amp, and descended through 
the trap-door, and scrambled on to my 
former station, after drawing the trap- 
door ^fter iv.c 22 close c.s I could. As I 
crawled over the ceiling of their room, I 
ventured to peep downward. They were 
still sitting ; but, as I looked, one of them 
prepared to rise ; then I durst look no 
longer. I crawled onward, till I came 
over the room of the sick man. I look- 
ed downward. The sight was beyond the 
most sanguine calculations of my hope. 
The sick man was quiet ; the lamp still 
burned ; and Saviolo w^as asleep. There 
was not a moment to be lost, 1 let my- 

188 FATAL hetenge; or, 

self down as quietly as I could through 
the hole in the ceiling till I hung only on 
t!ie beam with my hands. After suspend- 
ing myself for some time, till I felt my 
own weight, and was released from all 
obstructions, I commended myself to St. 
Philip, and let go my hold, and fell witb 
less violence than could be imagined. 
The sleepers did not move. I looked 
around me for some time, without ven- 
turing to stir, to be assured of the reality 
of my descent, with so little noise or 
danger, and that the tranquillity about me 
"was not counterfeited. All was still. I; 
rose; and creeping with that caution, 
which none but such a situation can give 
or imagine, I began to explore the room. 
There was but one window; the lamp 
burned in the hearth, before which Sa- 
violo was sleeping in a chair. Scarcely 
touching the ground, I proceeded to pass 
him. When I was opposite him I in- 
voluntarily stopped, and, w^ith an impulse 

I could 


I could not resist, looked full at him. 
His eyes were wide open^ and in- 
tently fixed on me. My terror did not 
conquer my reason. After a moment 
passed in the stupor of fear, I perceived 
he made no use of his observation; he 
neither spoke, nor offered to stop nie. 
I ventured to look at him more close- 
ly, and I perceived, from the fixed and 
filmy glare of his eye, that he was still 
asleep. A moment's thought confirmed 
my confidence. I had often heard of 
people who slept thus, particularly those 
whose minds are gloomy or perturbed. 
I now withdrew myself quietly, and plac- 
ed the lamp at some distance, kst its light 
should act too strongly on the exposed 
and dii.ted organs of sight. I glided 
across the room to the v/indow. It was 
a large casement that appeared, from its 
structure, to be moveable; but with most 
distressful apprehension I perceived, that 
to reach it I must step across the pallet 


190 FATAL revenge; or, 

of the sick man, nay, actually step on it. 
After what had happened, however, with- 
out disturbance or discovery, I had some 
hopes that a light step would be unfelt 
and unheard. I rose therefore on one 
foot, and, reaching across the bed, laid 
hold of the frame of the casement. A 
terrible blast that rushed against it 
that moment, almost made me fear it 
would be shattered in my hold. I re- 
leased it for a moment, and looked round 
me with fear. I heard only the heavy 
breathing of Saviolo, and the groaning of 
the old and ruinated ceiling, as the wind 
swept over it. I felt these delays of fear 
would be endless ; and, resting my knee 
on the frame-work, and holding it with 
both hands, drew my foot from the bed, 
when the sick man, with a faint cry, like 
that of weak surprise, extended one arm, 
and caught me by the ancle. In tha 
scene reason, life, seemed to forsake me, 
I neither felt nor thought; I neither 



struggled nor spoke. I grasped the frame 
with a force that shook it, and fixed my 
hollow and bursting eyes on the hand 
that held me. For my liberty, for my 
life, again, I would not live over the two 
moments that elapsed, before I perceived 
that he had grasped me in the agonies of 
pain, involuntary, unconscious, and yet 
asleep ; that he had laid hold on the first 
thing that was next his hand, and held it 
without being sensible of the act, or of 
any relief from it. But this discovery 
consoled me but little. He might hold 
me till escape was impossible ; and to li- 
berate myself by a struggle, would be to 
wake him. With anguish therefore, (such 
as none but he who counts but a mo- 
ment between him and death — death, ag- 
gravated by the near chance of safety, 
and the certain increase of suffering, has 
ever felt,) I awaited the dissolution of 
his hold as my only hope of life. In 
two moments, with the same suddenness 
5 of 


of motion, he released me, and, with 
some inarticulate moans of pain, turned 
to the other side. The instant he released 
me, I felt such a gush of heat through me, 
that I almost relinquished my hold of 
the casement from weakness. In a mo- 
ment, however, I collected myself, and 
attempted to open the rasement. This 
was done with difficulty ; yet I dared not 
look behind me, lest I should see Saviolo's 
eye upon me. It was done however, and 
I looked out on the free air and the open 
woods. The night was now utterly 
dark, and the tempest terrible. I could 
hear the roar of the forest below; but 
knew not whether I should be in the 
forest on springing out of the window. 
For deliberation there was no time ; 
nor could it teach me any thing. Around, 
^bove, and below me, were only tumult 
and darkness. I threw myself out of the 
window. I alighted, after a rapid descent, 
upon something solid. This gave way 



under me, and I felt myself falling again, 
with more pain, and through more ob- 
struction than before. At length I reach- 
ed the ground, sore and bruised. Every- 
thing about me was soft and damp, other- 
"vvise, 1 am convinced, I must have broken 
my limbs with my double fall. At a little 
distance from me, I heard the growling 
of a dog, and the rattling of a chain. 
I did not dare to stir, nor even to examine 
whether I was hurt or not, lest he should 
betray me by his barking. In a moment, 
however, I began to reflect, I had gained 
but little beside bruises and danger, by 
throwing myself out of the window. L 
could be as easily discovered and mur- 
dered in a shed, which I believed my 
present abode to be. I rose therefore 
as quietly as possible, but sunk down 
again from utter inability to stand. I 
found I had either sprained or broken the 
limb on which I ajighted. Another thrill 
of agony ran through me at this dis- 
YOL. II. K CO very. 


FATAL revenge; OP., 

covery, keener than the jDain that fol- 
lowed my vain attempt to stand ; but 
however reluctant or perturbed, I was 
obliged to sink down upon the damp 
straw that was spread over the ground. 
In a few moments, the moon broke thro' 
the clouds, and shining wrth strong light, 
discovered every object around me. I 
was in a large shed, rudely constructed of 
mud and the branches of trees, and cover- 
ed but partially with straw. I could not 
see whether it was connected with the 
principal building ; but it was open every 
where ; yet I could not escape. The 
roof was broken through where I had 
fallen, and through the fracture I had a 
view of other parts of the building, rude, 
and ruinous, and dimly seen, from amid 
dark clouds and masses of forest shade that 
w-ere spread around them. The anguish 
of my mind would, I believe, have again 
risen to madness, had it not been quali- 
fied by a kind of stupid satisfaction at 
.5 the 


the idea of being so far from the per- 
sons and weapons of the murderers, and 
a dream of impossible hope that I might 
be concealed by being where it was not 
probable any would search or suspect^ 
from its nearness to the house. Thus 
pacified by contrary expectations, of 
which, nevertheless, tlie love of life ren- 
dered both probable, and compelled to 
reconcile myself to remaining where I 
was, since, to stir was impossible, I sunk 
down, but still kept my eyes fixed on 
the building, still listened eagerly ft:)r a 
sound. In a short time, I beheld a light 
moving slowly up a part of the building 
just opposite. It was so dim, and pro- 
ceeded with such frequent pauses of mis- 
chief-meaning delay, that at once I con- 
v^eived it was the person employed to 
murder me who was ascending to my 
room. I attempted to stand upon my 
feet ; but the impulse was unable to con- 
tend with pain and infirmity. The Yi'^ht 
K ^ , stopped, 


Stopped, and disappeared for some time. 
In a moment after^ the ^vhole building 
echoed with cri^s of astonishment, and 
quick voices that called and answered 
each other, and lights darted and disap- 
peared at every window in my sight. 
All this I interpreted aright. He had 
gone up to my room, found it empty, 
and was now alarming the rest to pur- 
sue and discover me. All this I was 
obliged to know, with a consciousness, 
that if any chance should direct them to 
where I was concealed, 1 was inevitably 
lost. After half an hour's intolerable 
suspense, during which every part of the 
building seemed to undergo a search, I 
distinctly heard them going out in another 
direction, apparently that by which I had 
entered the house, and which was oppo- 
site to the part of tht building where the 
sick man ]<:y. This was nn intimation of 
safety to me ; but still, how precarious 
was that safety ! Any of them might take 

1 the 


the direction where I was. A casual im- 
pulse, a motion unaccounted for, might 
bring one of them to my shed. Their 
voices, however, became more and more 
distant, and their whistles and hollov.s 
echoed from the remotest parts of the 
wood, as the wind bore them faintly to 
my ear. The hope of life revived v/ith- 
in me, when I heard that devil, Savioio, 
(who, it appeared, had been awakened 
by the uproar in the house, and joined 
with the rest in searching it for me,) 
bending from the window just over me, 
exclaim, " Here, here; this way; he 
must have escaped through this window; 
it is open, search for him here." I drew 
in my breath, and listened in despair. 
There was no answer; they were out of 
hearing. I heard him cursing their stu- 
pidity, and muttering something, as if he 
was about to descend himself I tried to 
rise, and found, with the surprise of un- 
speakable joy, that my hurt had been 


198 F!4TAL revenge; or, 

trivial. I was now able to stand and to 
walk, but feebly. Any degree of reco- 
vered capacity was mattoi' of hope to me 
now, though I was still unable to make 
any considerable exertion for my safety. 
I crept towards the mastiff who was chain- 
ed near me, and whom I had some hope 
of making serviceable to me. Pie growl* 
cd fiercely at me; but as I drew nearer^ 
to my utter astonishment, he stretched 
out his neck, and fawned on me with the 
utmost gentleness. I knew him almost 
as soon. He was a dog I had in Naples, 
who followed me every where, and fed 
from my hand ; and though it was four 
years since 1 had lost him, he knew the 
first tones of my voice. Surely this was 
the providence of St. Filippo. 

I had scarce time to slip off his chain, 
when a door opened near m^e, and, thro* 
the chinks of the shed, I saw Saviolo ap- 
proaching, holding up a lanthorn^ and 
looking round suspiciously. His drawn 



chigger was in his hand. He came up to 
the shed slowly, but directly, and, enter- 
ing it, saw me instantly; and, with a yell 
of joy, rushed towards me. I had form.- 
ed my plan; and, urging the dog with 
nry voice and hands, the faithful animal 
flew at him like a tyger, and, fastening 
in his cloak, dragged him to the ground, 
and held him there, as if waiting my 
orders. Saviolo, with a cry of horror, 
and the visage of a fiend in pain, begged 
his life with the most abject language of 
fear and agony. I told him I had no in- 
tention to destroy him ; that I wished to 
fly from destruction myself; but that my 
safety required me to secure him, till I 
could effect my escape. I desired him, 
therefore, to throw away his dagger and 
his pistols. *' You will murder me if I 
do," said the villain, with a horrible mix- 
ture of fear and malignity in his face ; 
for he had no thoughts but of treachery 
and blood. '' I will not/' said I, '' nor 



I^ for worlds, be a wretch with such mur- 
derous hands as you. Throw away your 
dagger and pistols, and you are safe : 
keep them another moment, and that dog 
shall tear you to fragments/' He threw 
them to some distance. I took them tip, 
and armed myself with them. He watch- 
ed me with a fearful eye. He could not 
comprehend that any one could have an- 
other in his power without making a 
sanguinary use of it. I then compelled 
him to tell me where 1 should find the 
horses of the band ; what direction they 
had taken ; and whether they had left the 
house. I dared not ask him the way thro* 
the forest, as he would probably have 
pointed the way of danger. I now call- 
ed off the dog, who released him in a mo- 
ment, when the wretch, snatching a short 
knife from his breast, plunged it into my 
preserver's throat, who instantly expired. 
The vehemence of his motion was such, 
that I scarce perceived him turning on 



me. I closed with him, and, after an ob- 
stinate struggle, wrested the knife from 
him. I could scarce forbear burying it 
in his heart when I got it. I struck him 
to the ground in my rage, and when he 
rose I bound him, with some ropes I 
found in the shed, to a post in it, and left 
him, grinding, and gnashing with his teeth, 
and spitting at me, with the contortions 
and fury of a demoniac. 

I found the horses where he told me, 
and immediately mounted one of them. 
From the circumstance of their not being 
employed by the band, I could only ga- 
ther, that thev believed me to be at na 
considerable distance. They were there- 
fore probably all around me ; but if I 
could get beyond the immediate region 
of the house, 1 believed I should be safe. 
1 went out in the direction opposite to 
theirs. I need not tell you of my wan- 
dering in the wood; how often I quitted 
th^ track, and concealed myself it) the 
K 5 thicket^ 

202 FATAL revenge; or, 

thicket, which I quitted the next moment, 
from the fear of what had impelled me 
to seek it; how I dreaded to proceed, 
and w^as yet unable to stop ; how I listen- 
ed in horror to the wind, and the hollow 
whistle that ran through the wood, mix- 
ed with it ; how I thought the whisper 
of murder was in the underwood, as it 
hissed in the breeze ; and how often I 
recoiled as the tossing branches of the 
trees flung a sudden shadow across the 
way. I got out of the wood, after all 
my terror, safely, about the morning 
dawn; but I was no sooner freed from 
one danger, than the fear of another, as 
urgent, smote me. 

Whither could I go, or to whom ? I 
had escaped miraculously from your fa- 
ther's hands ; but I knew they could reach 
me in any part of Italy. Where could I 
fly, that money could not purchase my 
blood ? He might list a whole army a- 
gainst a single wretch ; and, on a long 



chase, I knew St. Filippo himself could 
be no match for him. I believe, Sig- 
nor, you will think the result of this de- 
bate was actual madness. I pursued my 
way eagerly to your father's castle, 
determined to go directly to him, to 
present myself before him. At a distance 
from him I knew there was no safety ; but 
I felt that this strange confidence might: 
ensure my safety with him. . 

Without further danger or adventures, 
I reached the castle that very evening. 
The servants, who did not appear to 
know the plan about me, admitted me 
without surprise. I desired immediately 
to see the Counr. I was conducted to 
him. Pie was alone when I entered ; and 
the tapers which were but just lit, burnt 
on a > table near him, so that he could 
scarce distinguish nie till I v/as close to 
hirn. He then sprang almost off his chair, 
and continued to stare at me, for some 
moments, with a look of vacant horror. 
During that time I could not speak. I- 



could not recover myself; the temerity 
of my purpose appalled me in the mo- 
ment of execution. 

At length, I said in low and hurried 
tones, " My Lord, you are surprised to 
see me here. The villain with whom I 
travelled had designs upon my life. I 
discovered them, and escaped. Listen 
to me, my Lord. You have suspicions 
of your son Annibal ; no living creature 
but myself can verify them. Whatever 
knowledge I possess will be lost to y(m 
if I perish ; and whatever may yet be 
gained from your son, can be gained 
only by me ; for I possess his confidence, 
and he believes me attached to his per- 
son. I can serve you more eflectually 
by my life than by my death. I can 
serve you more effectually than any of 
(he villains employed to murder me. 
Mark me, my Lord, my death may ruin 
you ; my life may serve you. If I were 
this moment dragged from your presence, 
or stabbed before it, a thousand tongues 



would tell it. If I were even immured in 
your dungeons, and poisoned, and buried 
secetly there, my disappearance would 
excite suspicion, and that suspicion would 
persecute you to the end of your days, 
and perhaps abridge them. Let me live, 
then. I will be faithful from fear and 
from gratitude. No villain, hired by the 
price of murder, can be so faithful as 
he who serves for life — for life restored 
and confirmed. While at a distance from 
you I might have saved myself by flight ; 
but I fled hither, because I knew my 
life was important to you, as well as to 

Was not this a bold effort for life ? 
I knew it was my only one. 1 knew, be- 
sides, (and believe me, Signor, even in 
that painful moment, I felt the force of 
that consideration,) that my success might 
be of the most material consequence to 
you ; that, if I was believed, I would 
be admitted to you, might talk with, 


S06 FATAL revenge; or, 

plan with, perhaps escape with you ; 
that your siiffei'ings would certainly be 
mitigated, perhaps your life preserv- 

The effect produced on the Count 
was what my hopes had anticipated, lie 
was overpowered by the suddenness of 
my appearance and language ; and what- 
ever attention the hurry of the moment 
allowed him, was impressed by what I 
said, by the promises of present dis- 
covery, and of future services. He wav- 
ed me, however, to leave him. I urged 
him still for a promise of safety. He 
gave it on his honour ; and I departed 

As I left tlie room, I could not but 
wonder at myself; my very existence 
seemed a prodigy to me^ what no power 
of body or mind on their fullest stretch 
could have effected for me; one effect of 
lucky rashness produced for me, the pa- 
cification of an enemy, powerful and in- 
exorable ; 


exorable ; the escape from a danger that 
threatened me every hour of life, and in 
every part of the world. I mixed among 
the domesticS;, and wondered they did not 
feel the same surprise at my living ap- 
pearance that / was conscious of, with- 
out reflecting, that of my disappearance 
they did not know the cause^ nor would 
perhaps ever have known it. 

In a short time, I was again summoned 
to the Count. 1 found father Schemoli 
with him, that sight of evil omen. The 
looks of both were fixed on me, as if 
they would search my soul ; a moment 
after, they exchanged looks, that seemed 
to express I was too much in their power, 
to be an object of dread to them. I ap- 
proached, and was instructed in what they 
expected from me. I did not understand 
till then, how my offers of service were 
understood ; it was then evident that I was 
to be employed as a spy ; that my having 
been honoured with your notice and 



confidence, was to be made a means ofex- 
torting from you some knowledge, which 
they did not describe very clearly, but of 
which they seemed determined to get pos- 
session. My attachment to you made me 
shudder at this proposal, till I recollected, 
that to appear to enter into their mea- 
sures, was the best way to defeat their 
mischief; and that to betray my indigna- 
tion and horror at them, would be only 
to sacrifice my powers of serving you, 
to an unseasonable display of my zeal. 
I listened to them therefore in silence, 
and by holding down niy head in a pos- 
ture of of deep attention, concealed the 
changes tha<^ my countenance underwent. 
I never knew so much of th? iniquity of 
the hurran mind ; I could not believe so 
much had existed in it, as I heard mani- 
fesf^d in the directions given me for ac- 
quiring the knowledge of this secret they 
believe you to possess. The object was 
simple; but the means were crowded v/ith 



such superfluous, and complicated knave- 
ry, the lessons of falsehood and deceit 
ran from ^them with such facility, that 
they seemed, compared with their usual 
habits of speech, like foreigners, who are 
suffered to speak their own language, and 
who compensate by their sudden volubi- 
lity, for long restraint and silence. They 
seemed to speak a new and natural lan- 
guage. I promised strict obedience, and 
aflected to profit by their documents ; and 
at length was dismissed with an assurance, 
that my fidelity was the only security of 
my life ; that on the discovery of the 
slightest tendency to duplicity, my pu- 
nishment would be what I could neither 
conceive nor avoid. I was then given 
these keys, with a direction to visit you, 
and all plans of escape were banished by 
the thought of seeing you ; but I am per- 
mitted to be often with you, to attend you 
in place of the confessor — nay, to pass hours 
in your apartment. These are my instruc- 


tions, and it will be strange, if with such 
advantages both for ]>lanning and execut- 
ing, we should continu? long in durance, 
I w^as as willing as Filippo could be, 
to let the satisfaction of the present 
moment supersede all provision for the 
future. 1 dwelt with a pleasure I did 
not try to restrain, on his simplici* 
ty, his strong attachment, his miraculous 
escape ; and felt that whatever might be 
the success of any plans we m.ight form, 
my mind, spent with unnatural force, 
would find relief in their discussion ; or 
even in the circumstances that made their 
discussion possible. 

I collected myself, however, enough to 
remind Filippo, that the present juncture 
required the most dexterous conduct ; 
that it was not impossible, even the pre- 
sent indulgence v/as only a stratagem of 
deeper mischief; that it w^as necessary 
for him at all events to amuse my father 
by promises of success in his employ- 
ment ; 


mcnt ; otherwise, his visits would be ob- 
structed, and probably his life sacrificed 
to their disappointment^ or their suspi- 
cions ; that he must frame his reports so 
as to bear a due relation in point of time 
to the execution of any measures we 
might have adopted, so as neither to com- 
pel us to precipitate or delay them, but 
just gain the proper time for their adjust- 
ment. Above all, I charged him, with an 
earnestness he did not understand^ to ob- 
serve the confessor, and repeat to me 
every instance of his deportment he could 
remark or remember. Our conference 
extended to a late hour, and I was com- 
pelled to drive him away ; for something 
like hope began to flutter within me, and 
I determined not to sacrifice its promises 
to 2L casual indulgence. 

He was hardly gone w-hen I wished to 
recal him. The terrors of the hour that 
w^as approaching 1 shrunk from meet- 
mg alone. As my visitor threatened, 


912 TATAL revenge; or, 

every night his appearance was becoming 
more terrible, and its expectation more 
insupportable to me. I dreaded in what 
this might terminate. He had darkly 
spoken of the possible subversion of my 
reason ; I felt all the horrors of this pre- 
diction. There is no evil like the ex- 
pected or approaching loss of reason ; 
there is no infliction that cannot be tole- 
rated in imagination ; but that which 
sweeps all power of provision, resistance, 
or mitigation of any other. Even in the 
present state of my mind, this sensation 
was exquisitely painful, as it in a manner 
verified what, of all things I was most un- 
willing to believe true ; viz. the agency 
and power of that singular being. I 
shuddered inwardly with reluctant con- 
viction, with that irksome feeling, that 
cannot dispute the evidences ; yet hates 
to admit the conclusion. One circum- 
stance relative to his appearance, (which 
might in a great measure assist me to 



judge of his up rnatural pretensions), I 
believed my; elf abled to discover still — 
the mode of his entrance into my apart- 
ment. If, as it seemed^ he was a being 
that could glide through walls, and over- 
come material obstructions, I could resist 
no longer the belief of whatever he might 
disclose. If he required the assistance by 
which human beings pass from one part 
of space to another, I rejoiced in the 
hope of discovering his imposture, and 
obtaining a triumph over this w^onderful 
being, whose superiority to humanity, 
mingled envy with my astonishment. 
While I was occupied by these thoughts^ 
a strange drowsiness crept over me ; I 
resisted it at first, without an appre- 
hension of its influence being so strong; 
but in a short time, I felt all power of 
thought gliding from my mind. 

Half angry at so unseasonable a weak- 
ness, 1 rose, and began to walk about the 
room; it was in vain. In a short time, 



from utter incapacity of motion, I was 
obliged to throw myself on the bed, 
where a deep sleep fell on me. It did 
not continue long ; I awoke I know 
not how. Before I was fully awake, I 
felt my eyes were in search of Father 
Schemoli ; they discovered him, as usual, 
sitting by the table on which my lamp 
was burning still. 

Without betraying any emotion^ without 
uttering a single word,or interjection of 
fear, I continued to gaze on him, expecting 
something more than I had yet heard, to 
proceed from him ; the idea of his superna- 
tural power involuntarily mixing withmy 
own thoughts, produced a full conviction 
in me, that he was acquainted with the real 
object and topic of Filippo's conference 
■with me ; and I awaited his declaration 
of it with as full reliance, as if he had 
been present at our conversation ; but he 
spoke without allusion to that, or any 
subject, but the constant one of his 



visits. On that, he poured forth a flood of 
supernatural eloquence, which I no longer 
attempted to resist, or to interrupt. It 
was terrible to hear him — the admiration 
that follow^s impassioned oratory, w^as lost 
in more strange and awful feelings ; there 
was evidently something of the power and 
evidence of another world about him. 
Delight w^as checked^ yet heightened by 
terror; and attention w^as often suspended 
by the wonder, how man could hear him 
and live. The mind rose to the level of 
the speaker, I felt myself upborne and 
floating on the pinions of his voice over 
the confines of the invisible w^orld, over 
the formless, and the void. I felt it with a 
xvild and terrible joy — a joy that made me 
as strange to myself, as every thing around 
me was ; a joy that from the very gid- 
diness of its elevation, precluded me from 
measuring the height to which it had 
raised me — the remote point at which I 
gtocd from the common feelings and habits 


216 VATAL revenge; or, 

of human nature. I know this was n 
strange and wayward frame; I wonder at 
myself; I can hardly describe or render it 
probable; but I have heard of beings, 
who, wish unnatural strengh of feeling, 
would hang on a bare and single point of 
rock to see the ocean in a storm ; would 
rush out to cross the forky lightnings in 
their dance, or howl to the storm as it 
bent the forest, or shook the mountains 
to their base. I have heard of such, but 
scarce believed such a feeling could exist 
in a human breast, till I listened to this 
strange being, and listened with pleasure 
as strange. But this night, whether encour- 
aged by my silence, or whether in the 
progressive fulfilment of his commission, 
he spoke more openly of its object, he 
dared to tell me I was doomed to be a 
murderer. A murderer did I say ? Com- 
pared to the crime, which he affirmed I 
would perpetrate, that of murder might 
be termed a benefaction, an honour to 



society. In language of horrid strength, 
without pause, or limit, or mitigation, 
again and again he affirmed it; nay, de- 
scribed its mode and circumstance, the 
process of preparation my mind would 
iinderiio, the g-radual induration of mv 
heart, and sealing j.ip of my mind and con- 
science with that penetrating and empha- 
tic miinuteness, that proved an intimac}'" 
with the inmost heart and spirit of man, 
from which I shrunk in vain — in vain tried 
to shelter myself by arguing from the fu- 
tility of his reasoning and descriptions, to 
the futility of his prediction. 

But though I could not work myself 
into incredulity, I tried to v^ork myself 
into rage ; I endeavoured to awe or to re- 
pel him by my fury. I demanded how 
he dared to im>pute to me such crimes? 
AV^as I not a free agent ? Had I not the 
power of choosing one mode of action, 
and declining another ? To the perpetra- 
tion of such horrors as he predicted, no- 

VOL. n. L thiu''!^ 

2 IS FATAL revenge; or, 

thing but insanity could drive me, and in- 
sanity would relieve me from the burthen 
ofconsciousness^ as well as the guilt of vo- 
lition. I charged him in my turn, succes- 
sively, with being an impostor, a ma- 
niac, and lastly, an evil spirit, embodied 
and empowered to work my eternal woe, 
and confirm his own by his infernal tri- 
umph. I abjured all further commerce 
with him ; I heaped him with reproach and 
malediction. I stopped my ears, I closed 
my eyes against him ; only my voice 
was i'vee, and with that I cursed, and bid 
him begone. When the bellowings of 
my rage had ceased, and the echoes of my 
prison were still, he burst into a laugh; 
my bl(jod curdled to hear him, and w^hen 
1 raised my eyes to him, he was gone. 

The impression he left with me was 
stronger than any preceding night ; but 
it was more tolerable ; the sense of oppres- 
sion or persecution wakens us to rage 
and to resistance. There was something so 



determined and tenacious in these nightly 
hauntings, so persevering and obtrusive 
in his mention of the subject I had ab- 
jured and refused to listen to^ that I felt 
it like a challenge to my powers of resist- 
ance, and I met it with my full strength 
of mind. There now appeared to be an 
obvious and definite ground whereon Vv'e 
were to contend ; a trial of powers com- 
mon to both; his, of importunate per- 
secution, and mine, of unremitted opposi- 
tion. I pleased myself in collecting the 
forces of my mind, and ascertaining the 
ground and point of our conflict. I re- 
solved if I must yield, not to yield with- 
out a vigorous struggle. I forgot, that 
by all this I only confirmed the identity 
of my torment ; only gave it form and 
substance, instead of endeavouring to dis- 
sipate it as the vision of solitude, as the 
dream that floated on the heavy vapours of 
my dungeon. 

L ?. ^ They 


They -must repose great confidence in 
Filippo. They have this day permitted" 
him to bring me materials for writing. 
These were indeed welcome, like others. 
1 trifled with my indulgence for the fn*st 
hour, I scrawled the paper over with 
strange figures ; but when I examined 
them, 1 was struck with the number of 
instruments of death and punishment I 
had described among them : how strong 
a tincture my mind communicates to tri- 
vial and indifferent things ! 

Filippo tclh me, they continue to im- 
portune him with questions about me, 
and the knowledge he had obtained from 
me. *' I have told them," said he, '^ a 
plausible story about your former visits 
to the tov/er, arid a'nout the communica- 
tions you are daily making to me. But I 
take care not to make any extravagant 
or momentous representations, lest they 
should expect some veriiication of them, 



our movements or seniii 
which it wciild be impossible to give. 
In the mean time, their suspicions are 
ejiidcd, and time is obtained^ whicii is all 
Ave require." 

It is obvious to you, that in his narra- 
tive and conversations, I have always 
irandatcd Filippo's language. The vulgar 
often express themselves with force, par- 
ticularly in descriptions; but they are 
insufferably tedious, and abound in repe- 
titions. Nor, since I retained the sub- 
stance of his narrative, was it necessary 
for me to retail his idiomiS and vuluar- 


He sits b^v me, and talks of plans for 
our escape — talks merely — for even his 
sanguine disposition cannot trace a vestige 
of rational hope in any he has yet pro- 
posed. The castle is too well guarded ; 
f?]:cd with doinestics all day, and every 
passage locked at night. He believes it 
to be full of .subterranean passages and 


222 FATAL revenge; ok, 

secret recesses ; but even if we reached 
them, we might perish in them by fatigue 
and hunger. 

I have now begun my journal ; and, 
within these three days, wrote the pre- 
ceding account. You must henceforth 
only expect it in fragments. 

Filippo often looks at me with un- 
speakable solicitude. He confesses to 
me, I am so altered, so reduced, and 
haggard in look, and abstracted in manner, 
that he cannot believe such a change to 
be produced merely by my confinement. 
He importunes me with an earnestness I 
often find it difficult to resist, but must 
not yield to. lie would either think me 
a maniac, or a being leagued with, and 
under the power of some evil spirit. 
Tlie very name of Father Schemoli (of 
whom he has notions justly terrible) 
would inspire with terror, and perhaps 
even his attachment might not be proof 



ngainst the aversion which the idea of 
our intercourse might produce. 

" Signor/' said he, " there was a man 
in a village where I was born, who believ- 
ed himself haunted by the evil one, and 
that the object of the temptation was 
to make him commit murder. He told 
this in confidence to some one who 
pressed to know the occasion of his con- 
stant melancholy ; and he told it to an- 
other, and in a short time every one 
shrunk away from the poor wretch, as 
if he had been a real murderer. No 
one would meet him alone; no one 
would pass near hi i house at night; no 
one would sit near him ; for whether 
thev believed him reallv beset, as he de- 
scribed, or only visionary, it inspired 
them with a dread and a ;^i;spicl-:n, that 
made every on 3 shun him as some evil 
thing. After lingering some time in 
utter solitude, he at length disappeared, 


2*24 FATAL revenge; gk, 

and strange things were whispered about 
his departure. 

" Some months after that, however, we 
heard of an extraordinary murder com- 
mitted at Venic ;*. The murderer had had 
no enmity to the person he killed, nor 
even any knowledge of him. He had 
inquired his situation in life; and, on 
learning that he had no relictions who 
would suffer by his loss ; that his character 
was good ; and he had come that 
moment from receiving absolution — he 
exclaimed, ' That is my man,' and im- 
mediately stabbed him. He then sur- 
rendered himself to justice ; said he was 
perfectly sensible of his crime, and de- 
sired no mercy ; but had taken care that 
his offence should l^e attended with as 
little injury as possible, either to society, 
or to the sufferer. • 

'' Vvhen we inquired the name of this 
extraordinary man, we learned he was the 



very individual who had left our village. 
Now Signer, you must forgive me ; but no 
human being ever looked as that man did 
but you. You have exactly his dark, fixed 
eye, and that peculiar contraction of the 
forehead, and hollowness of the cheek. 
I sa'w him the morning before he disap- 
peared. He was tracing some lines in a 
bed of withered leaves, over which he 
bent; and, as you hung over your paper 
just now% drawing those melancholy lines^ 
you v/ere the picture of him. Do, Signor, 
tell me, for the love of grace, what it is 
thus presses on your mind. It is something- 
else than your confinement, I know. When 
I speak of that you are quite easy ar.d 
resigned, and listen to all I can say with 
composure; but if I mention night, or 
solitude, or the confessor to you, your 
countenance changes, that I scarce kno^v it.'' 
You may conceive v/ith what pain I 
heard him. The sympathy the unfor- 
tunate subject of his sforv had met with,. 
L 5 tau 7i)t 

226 FATAL revenge; OR;, 

taught me what I was to expect from a 
similar disclosure. I silenced him as soon 
as I could ; but, as he left the room, he 
murmured something about father Sche- 
moli. Is my persecution written on my 
forehead ? Can the very menials read that 
I am tempted to murder ? If so, 'twere 
almost better committed ; there would be 
less suspicion, and less of '^ fear which 
hath torment." 

His visits are unremitting, and his per- 
secutions increasino- in force and fre- 
quency. He now names the object of it 
directly, proposes means, and, withou 
remitting l.h mysterious character and 
language, discusses them wiih a familiarity 
that chills my blood. 

What shall i do? I am stroiigly beset; 
I am sore pressed and straitened. Would 
to heaven I could make my escape from 
this durance. Even if he has the power 
of pursuing me, may not that power be 
diminished or increased by the circum- 


Stances of time or place ? He hinted that 
himself. He talked of his power being 
limited to a certain hour and spot. If 
I could but fly from him ; if I was to 
hear the terrible voice no more ; to lay 
mw harrassed head where one nl^hi W'Ould 
be unbroken by these visits of horror. 
He has no longer the power of feeding 
curiosity, or of fascinating imagination. 
My only sensation at his presence is un- 
mixed aversion, mortal repugnance and 
fear. It is not to be wondered at. No 
human mind can longer endure the pitch 
mine has been strained to lately. It must 
relieve itself by insanity, or by .a deep 
and motionless stagnation of its powers. 
The objects that have occupied me are not 
the natural topics of human meditation ; 
the mind can only bear to see them re- 
motely, and partially, and tra:isientlv ; it 
cannot conferwith, and b-: habitually con- 
versant with them, 7;ithout changing its 
properties, nay, its very nature.. The dis- 
1 tant 


tant cloud, whose skirts are indcRtcd with 
lightDings, and whose departing thun- 
ders roll their last burden on the winds, 
we can bear to follow with the eye, and 
feel our hearts quelled and elated with 
the fluctuations of grateful horror; .but 
w^ho could bear to live for ever in the 
rage and darkness of the tempest ; to 
sport with the lightnings that quivered 
around him, and grasp at the bolt that 
rushed to blast him. My mind is utter- 
ly changed. I shrink from these things, 
and would fly back to life for shelter, 
if 1 could. I feel a kind of indignation 
at the perversion of my powers. Why 
should 1 be shut up in this house of 
horrors, to deal with spirits and damned 
things, and the secrets of the infernal 
world, while there are so many paths 
open to honour and pleasure, the va- 
rieties of human intercourse, and the en- 
joyment of life ? I struggle to regain 
the point I have quitted ; to feci my- 


self a man, and amongst men again; to 
'' confer \vith flesh and blood." 

V/hat are these bodings that oppress 
me ? Must I never return to life^ never 
be myself again ? Tis but the involuntary 
recollection of his words. 1 cannot dis- 
mhs, but I will not believe them. 1 Je tells 
me, my first stirrings of curiosity, my 
conferences with Michelo, my visits to 
the tower and to the tomb, were a series 
of acts which I could neither produce 
nor forbear, which belonged to that great 
chain of agency that bound m.e to him, 
and him to me indissolubly — a chain 
which I could neither forge nor break; 
of which one link could neither be add- 
ed nor detached by the power of all 
nature. I will not believe this ; yet how 
consistent is it with the process of my 
feelings ! how suddenly did 1 rush into 
the pursuit, without any preparation of 
mind, or of circumstance ! This was not 
natural nor right ; nor did I feel any sur- 


prise at the greatness or suddenness of 
the transition from quietness and indif- 
ferency, to the rage of sudden zeal, the 
impetuosity of resistless activity. This 
was not natural either. How do I heap 
up ra'gumcnts to my own confusion ! How 
do I set out resolved to disbelieve an assur- 
ance, yet employ myself only in collecting 
proofs of it, and observing the repug- 
nance I pretended to confirm ! Curse on 
the impulse, whether fated or voluntary, 
that first led me to the pursuit. What 
motive summ.oned me to it ? My con- 
science was clear and my rest quiet. Who 
made me an inquisitor of the secrets of 
blood, a searcher of the souls of men ^ 
V/hat had I to do with it ? No voice call- 
ed on me; no hand beckoned to me; I 
was warned neither by dream nor vision ; 
my oliiciousness was wilful ; my obsti- 
nacy was incorrigible. What if 1 had 
heard :hese dark reports, had I a right 
to investigate them ? If a pit opens at 



my feet, am I to plung? into it to examine 
the cause ? Could I not have wnlked over 
the unsafe and suopectcd ground 1 was 
led to, with the quiet fear, the shrink- 
ing caution with which a child passes over 
the place of graves ? Whatever secrets 
may be around and beneath him he cares 
not, so he may get safely through them. 
He trends lightly, lest he should break 
their tremendous sleep ; he will scarce 
breathe, least it should sound like a call 
to ^hem; he will scarce name the divine 
name in the stifled prayer of fear, lest 
it should have some unKnown power in 
that place of awe. 

Oh that I had thus crlided past this 
pursuit ! The fatal affect ution of superna- 
tural dignity ; the conscious pride of the 
agent of Heaven; the chosen instrument 
of Him, (to be the dust of whose feet is 
above all earthly power) ; this, this undid 
me. It is a sensation rarely felt; the 
modes of life seldom admit it; the heart 


239 FATAL revenge; o^, 

of man has scarce room for it ; but it is of 
surpassing and magnificent power. Would 
I could exchange it for the most timid 
humility^ for the most servile ignorance, 
for the most impotent superstition that 
ever depressed the human breast. Such 
are safe from danger by the excess of 
fear, instead of being, as I am, mated 
and leagued with these horrors, blended 
in unhallowed intimacy with what it is 
frightful and unlawful for human nature 
to know. Would I were the gossip-crone, 
who^ shivering over her single faggot, 
crosses herself to hear such things nam- 
ed, and trembles to see her dim and single 
light burn blue, while the tale goes round; 
or the child that seems to sleep at her 
feet, lest he should be sent to rest before 
it is finished, and imagination fill it up 
too well when he is alone, and in dark- 
ness — would I were one of those. Their 
fear, their ignorance is their security. 
Heaven never selects such instruments for 



its higher purposes. They may eat their 
humble breads and drink their water in 
peace, while the servant of heaven, who 
tarries on his way, is torn by a lion. 
They may remain, like their own rustic 
hills, covered with useful verdure, and 
content with quiet beauty, while those, 
wh^se deep roots extend to the world 
beneath, whose feet have supplanted the 
foundations of the earth, are impregnated 
with fire and destruction, blast all the 
region around them, and are rent and 
ruined by their own explosion. Why 
did I assume this fatal responsibility ? 
What were the crimes of others to me ? 
The whole w^orld might have laboiiied 
with some prodigious discovery; yet I 
niight have passed m.y life in it, iinsoli- 
citous and unconscious of it. These 
things do not come in quest oi us ; 'tis 
our fatal curiosity that removes the na- 
tural barrier of separation. The earth on 
which I trod might have quaked and 


634 FATAL revenge; OR;, 

groaned with untold secrets ; every 
breeze might have brought to my ears 
the cry of an unappe.;sed spirit; the ta- 
pers that burned before me jnight have 
been tipt with bhie ; the very dogs might 
have crouched and sliiverrd with a con- 
sciouJincss of invisible pre;.ence; I might 
have set every step upon an untimely 
grave, and slept every niglu in a cham- 
ber stained with secret blood, so 1 had 
known nothing of it, my sleep would 
have been quiet, and my mind undis- 
turbed. I would have passed through life 
as calmly as the sea-boy sleeping in the 
shrouds, while the spirits of the storm are 
mustering and hurtling in the blast that 
lulls him to rest. A search into the se- 
crets of crimes we have not been privy 
to, is like an acquired faculty of seeing 
spectres. Before its attainment, all was 
safety and innocence; after, solitude be- uneasy, and darkness terrible. The 
consciousness of guilt is as bad as the 



commission. He who obtains the know- 
ledge of another's crimes, shares their 
burthen and their torment; he is either 
summoned to expiate them, and forced 
from the quietness of life, and the natural 
current of human action, to a line of dar- 
ing and desperate adventure, which he 
pursues without sympathy, and without 
reward ; ( for the feelings, attached to 
that state, are too uncommon for par- 
ticipation, and its termination is not his 
own exaliation, but the punishment of 
others) or he sinks into the partaker of 
another's crimes, by forbearing to dis- 
close them. Ke suffers more than the real 
agent ; his painful consciousness is the 
same, his dread of detection the same, 
and his sense of the injuries of the suf- 
ferer, and the consequences of dis- 
co veiy are greater; for he fears to 
be found wicked, only from the love of 
wickedness, without the motives of en- 
mity, or the temptations of reward. To a 



personal action, if brave and daring, na}% 
if cgregiously flagitious, the wonder of 
mankind involuntarily attaches some de- 
gree of honour ; but the gratuitous vil- 
lain, Vt'ho was not guilty, not because he 
dared, but because he feared, is de- 
servedly heaped with the contempt and 
maledictions of all. To such an alterna- 
tive has my fatal curiosity reduced me ; 
an alternative, aggravated by circum- 
stances of peculiar horror to me. What- 
ever be the object disclosed to you, Ip- 
polito, can it be so terrible as that which 
my hints have told ? Do you understand 
me? Involuntarily I hope not; yet you 
should understand me, to estimate the 
struggles of my mind aright. A month 
past, I would have believed my heart con- 
taminated by the casual visitation of that 
thought which is now its constant inmate. 
I dread lest it should lose its salutary hor- 
ror of W'hich this habitual contemplation 
must divest it. And what shall I do ? 



What security shall I have then ? A vil- 
lain in theory, is half a villain in action.^ 
Habit is as strong a security for our virtues 
as principle ; to a mind beset as mine, 
perhaps stronger : 'tis impossible for the 
purest mind to dwell long on villanous 
and murderous thoughts, even as indiffe- 
rent and neutral, without feeling their 
pollution not only infecting its frame, 
but partially influencing the actions; im- 
pulses of malignity, of mischief, of re- 
venge, will be felt unchecked, and un- 
repented. 1 feel it myself — I feel the 
fiend growing strong within me. What, 
oh what will become of me, Ippolito ? I 
can hardly breathe, I can scarce hold my 
pen ; these are the last lines it shall ever 
trace ; you will never behold them, they 
will be buried with their writer. I shall 
not outlive this night. Filippo is weep- 
ing beside me — I cannot describe circum- 
stances ; the shock of death is too forc- 
ible for my mind. I know not what to 


238 FATAL revenge; or, 

think, or almost where I am ; but I feel 
what I must shortly be. 

About an hour ago, Filippo rushed in 
with horror in his face. He fell at my 
feet, and gasping and speechless looked 
up in my face. When he could speak, it 
was only in broken tones aiid howlings 
ofdespair, to tell me I was '^ to die." " I 
had but a few hours to live/* I listened 
with the incredulity of amazement. The 
mind cannot readily ad/r/it the thought of 
dcc'ith-of death so near and so sudden. 
At length, his agony excited my fear. I 
then spoke unheeded in my turn, for he 
was unable to hear, or almost to speak. 
With difficulty and many interruptions, 
at last, he told me, " He had of late, ob- 
served my father and his confessor often 
engaged in conferences from which lie 
was excluded; that his suspicions were 
awakened, as hitherto he had been a prin- 
cipal agent in their consultations ; that 
this evening, owing to my father's abstrac- 


tion, he had succeeded in concealing him- 
self in a part of the room, as the confessor 
entered. It was a dangerous experiment, 
but he felt such a peculiar, boding sensa- 
tion on his entrance, that he could not re- 
sist making it. 

*' They conversed in whispers at first,** 
said he '' and with such long intervals, 
that I could collect nothing ; at lengthy 
the Count, as if many things had been 
proposed, and none had satisfied him, 
throwing himself back in his chair, said 
aloud, " I know not how to dispose of 
this incumbrance/' " An incumbrance,'* 
said he monk, '' is only another name for 
something we want resolution to be freed 
from/' '' I do not want resolution/' said 
the Count, ^' but I know not what means 
to employ/' '•' He who does not want re- 
solution, could not hesitate to employ any 
means," observed the confessor. '' But 
my own son, father,'* said the Count. 
" His crime is therefore aggravated by dis- 


obedience," said the monk. ''But in my 
own castle," said the Count. " You can 
therefore be more secret and secure," re- 
plied the monk. '' But another — another — 
another" — said the Count in a piteous 
tone, and as if unable to force himself to 
finish the sentence — '' Another is rendered 
necessary by those that have preceded ; 
the first movement is voluntary, all that 
follow are consequential and inevitable/" 
urged the tempter. "By my soul,"' said 
the Count, apparently answering his own 
thoughts, '' 1 am neither safe nor secret 
within these walls, witness" — he stopped 
suddenly. '' Our success depends as much 
on the choice, as on the use of means," 
said the monk. '' Vvlien we employ vio- 
lent passions as our agents, their explo- 
sion will often extend to ourselves ; but 
there are still and unsuspected means." 
'' Do you know of such meansr, holy fa- 
ther," interrupted the Count. '' I do," 
said the monk. " And are you acquainted 



with one who would apply them/* asked 
your father, in a lower tone. " I am," said 
the confessor. There was then a long si- 
lence ; the children of satan appeared to 
understand each other without speech. I 
could have rushed out, and pierced their 
false hearts with my own hand. 

The Count seemed to force himself to 
break the silence, and said in a hurried 
manner, '' Good father, it is needless to 
observe to you, that this must be done 
so, so — as neither to excite suspicion nor 
disturbance. You have of course witnessed 
many proofs of the efficacy and expedition 
of what you propose." '^ I heard many 
proofs/* said the monk, evasively. '^'But,** 
continued your father with increased ea- 
gerness of tone and gesture, though al- 
most w^hispering, '' they are such as 
leave you in no doubt of its certainty.** 
'•' Would you have me doubt my senses ?" 
said the monk, impatiently. " Pardon 
me, father,*' said the Count, '' you did 

VOL. II, .M not 


not mention any thing of seeing a proof 
of its operation." ''But is not hearing- 
one of the senses/' said the confessor, re- 
collecting himself. It stnick me, Signor. 
when I heard them conferring thus^ that 
leagued as they both were in wickedness, 
each of them felt a wish to be possessed of 
some knowledge of the other's previous ini- 
quity, that might supply an influence 
over h'm at some future period. To such 
a motive I attributed your father's anx- 
iety to draw an ocular confession of the 
power of these means (which I suppose 
to be poison ) from the monk ; for though 
the guilt of either could scarce be deve- 
loped without implicating that of the other, 
yet the fears of wickedness are perpetu- 
ally impelling to provisional caution, and 
security for the subordination of its as- 
sociates. The monk rose to depart, *' You 
jnu: t no^ go in anger, father,' said the 
Count. '' Pardon me, I mean to set about 
it in cold blood/' said the monk, in a pe- 


culiar accent. " Go then, but send my 
attendants to me quickly — quickly, fa- 
ther, and throw open all the doors as you 
go, that I may hear the sound of your 
steps till I see them approaching. I can- 
not be alone a moment — I am a miserable 
man!'' This last direction was fortunate 
for me, for I glided out from behind the 
hangings through the open door, and 
reached your apartment in a moment. 

Having told his tale, he again fell at my 
feet, and wept. It had been more merci- 
ful to have let me die without this intelli- 
gence ; for die I must. The poison will 
probably be conveyed in food, undistin- 
guished by any peculiar taste ; its opera- 
tion will probably be like the approach of 
sleep ; I should no thave tasted the bitter- 
ness of death ; the interval of expectation 
and agony. He has suggested a thousand 
plans for escape or resistance ; they are 
wild ; it is not a single enemy, or a single 
M 3 


emergency I have to contend against: 
they liave me utterly in their power^, these 
walls must bound my struggles. If I 
resisted violence, they might leave me to 
perish by famine ; this is horrible. Oh, 
for a single weapon to grasp in mine hour 
of need. There is none ; death comes on 
like the night, shutting up all creation in 

darkness, hopeless and impenetrable 1 

have driven Filippo from me — driven him 
almost by force ; his clamours disturbed 
me. Iwould think if I could ; my mind is 
wonderous heavy and beclouded. I am 
stunned and blasted by this stroke. Death, 
death — What is death ? Men talk of it 
all their lives; and the wise will talk 
well and smoothly of it ; but who hath 
understood it ? Who has seen it approach 
so near^ and measured it with their full 
power of mental vision, described and 
embodied its just dimensions, and said to 
it. Now I know all thou canst be, or bring 
to me. No, it is impossible ,* if speech 



could be obtained in the last agonies, we 
might know something of it ; if they could 
even make signs to signify the gradual 
obscuration of sense, and exclusion of the 
world and its objects; if they could inti- 
mate at what moment they let go their 
hold of the life of sense, and feel the dawn 
of their new perceptions. No, I was 
born to die — I have seen many that died ; 
yet I know nothing of death. Great and 
invisible being, whose name is to be ut- 
tered by silence, where am I going ? all 
conjectures of reason, ail illuminations 
of faith fail me now. I could talk of these 
things like others, and believed my no- 
tions of them clear and authentic ; but 
now all around me is tenfold darkness. 
A mountain rises between the regions of 
life and futurity ; through it, or above it 
no power can obtain for living man a 
a glimpse or a passage ; clouds are seated 
on its top, and its centre is mantled over 
by darkness. I sit at its feet; and look 



upward in vain ; I tremble in ignorance, 
I gasp in expectancy. Whither am I 
going, or to whom ! How many fears of 
flesh are compassing me round ! How 
much am I a mortal even at this solemn 
hour! The dread of pain, though it is 
the last I shall suffer, the throbbings of 
curiosity, though I shall never be sensible 
of their gratification, are I think more 
strono' vdthin me, than all other feelino-s. 
The mode and circumstance of death are 
more terrible to me, than the act itself; 
of that, I have no conception; but of the 
possible pain and agony of the struggle, 
i have too, too clear an idea — Will it first 
affect my intellect, or my senses ? Shall 
I feel my mind obscured and declining, 
or mine eyes grov/ing dim, my pulses 
fluttering, my hearing mixed and dizzy ? 
Oh, what will be the first symptoms, that 
the pilgrim is setting out on her journey ; 
the first faint beat of the march, that calls 
the coward to the last great conflict ; and 



when I tiy to '' go forth, and shake my- 
self as at other times/' to scatter these 
faint assaults of infirmity ; to feel^ to 
know that no power can arrest or sub- 
due them ; that, feeble as they seem, they 
are the beginnings of that wondrous pro- 
cess, that in a few moments will change 
my body into dust, and shut out my spirit 
to wander in a slate new and unknown; 
of which, the conception can only com- 
mence with the existence ? 

I will wrap up my head, and think no 
more— it vAW not be. Shall I suffer much 
pain? Will my struggles be long ? How do 
we know but the approach of death is plea- 
surable ? None have returned to tell us ; 
perhaps our fears are all that invest it with 
pain. Oh, no, no, the aspect of the dead 
bears no expression of pleasure; the point* 
ed nostril, the grim and ligid mouth, the 
distended and bursting eye, the hair 
bristling and erect, like resistance — these 
are not the features of one who is at ease. 



No, death is every way horrible. I hate 
heard, too, that the young and those in 
heahh are more susceptible of severe 
pain, and longer struggles, than the weak 
and aged. They cling to life with terrible 
force, and repeated blows, and hard but- 
chering violence must rend them asunder. 
Yes — death is e\€xj wa); horrible to 
me ! Almighty powers, can this be pos- 
sible ? Have two hours elapsed since I 
was told I must die ? It appears that 1 have 
heard it but now. Oh, who can think 
life long who knows he must die ? Who 
can slumber over the hours, whose lapse 
lead to futurity ? How fast, how fast, 
ey§n to the eye, the hand of this time- 
piece travels — even while I write it changes 
its place ! If it were arrested for an 
hour, what injury would the world sus- 
tain for an hour? — It might stop for 
a day, for a year without mankind being 
sensible of it ; and, if it should, its termi- 
nation would only find me, as now^ lapt 



in terrible conjecture! To prepare for- 
\vbat is indefinite, no time would be suf- 
ficient — all around me is wondrous, as if I 
had but just begun to live. This little in^- 
strument, can its minute workings lead to- 
an effect so stupendous ? Can the progress 
of that small line precipitate an immortal 
spirit into futurity ? I have heard of the 
cun-ent of the stream before ; but now my 
eyes see it, I have felt its force, and mea- 
sured its rapidity; nothing may turn it 
back or withstand it. A few moments 
more, and — was that a step? It was a 
step ; I hear it — they come ! I must 
die I Gracious heaven, is there no help, 
no respite ? Oh, for the swords thai are 
plr.ying by the sides of the idlers of the 
world this moment ! Oh, that I we^'e in 
a forest, and could rend the branches from 
the trees for my defence! Can I not 
tear out the beams or stones of these 
giant-v^alls to cast at them ? By heaven, 
1 will not hold cut my throat to them. I 
M 5 will 

g50 FATAL revenge; or, 

will fight for life, and that terribly. I will 
make a weapon of something ; or they 
shall feel that the naked hand of despair can 
scatter firebrands, and arrows, and death/' 

Here the manuscript ended, and Cy- 
prian, when he had finished it, looked 
with wonder at Annibal to behold him 
yet alive. Its termination had indicated 
death, aggravated by hopeless resistance. 
Annibal pursued the narrative verbally. 

I wrote those last lines with many in- 
tervals of fear and of meditation. It was 
long after midnight, that I heard a step 
approaching. After a struggle, which 
neither my power nor voice can describe,. 
I started up, and stood fixed opposite the 
entrance ; my only instrument was a mas- 
sive chair, which in my frantic strength- 
I wielded like a wand. I am convinced I 
would have crushed to death, the being 
against v.hom I lifted it. The step came 
nearer. I set my teeth close, and rose 



on my feetj and my sinews felt like iron. 
The door was unlocked, and before 1 
could raise my arm, Filippo rushed ra. 
There \vas no time for inquiry or explana- 
tion ; he was gasping for breath, and only 
beckoned rne to follow; that motion 
calmed me in a moment. I seemed to 
understand intuitively it w^as a sign of 
safety and freedom. 

I caught up the lampj and followed 
him. On quitting, the room, I was about 
to turn down the passage, but he graspt 
my arm, and though still unable to utter 
more than interjections, gave me to un- 
derstand we mus^t take another direction. 
He passed before with quick, but steady 
steps. I held ' the lamp low, lest our 
speed should extinguish it ; for the pas- 
sage into which we had entered, appeared 
longer and loftier than the other, and the 
air, though damp and still, w^as strong in 
its current. I was amazed at the apparent 
incaution of Filippo's movements; for 



he walked as he would at noon day ; but 
at the end of the passage, he suddenly stop- 
ped, and taking the lamp from me and 
shrouding it with his cloak, stepped for- 
ward with breathless and shivering slow- 
ness, motioning me to do likewise. I did 
so ; but in the room we entered, I could 
discover no reason for this sudden cau- 
tion ; it was spacious and desolate, and 
as the half veiled light threw a partial and 
thwarting gleam upon it, I could only 
see masses of dusky obscurity. As we 
drew near the opposite door, Filippo con- 
tracted his steps v/ith increasing fear^ and 
1 now threw round me a glance of serious 
inquiry. I discovered then with difficul- 
ty, a dark heap in the corner v^^ewere ap- 
proaching ; it was too dim and shapeless 
to suggest any cause for the caution he 
betrayed ; yet his eye as he drew nearer 
it,, rolled in horror, «nd his steps almost 
faltered. I leant over him to view it 
more closely, and in that moment I 



thought I beheld it move. Filippo mur- 
mured something between a groan and 
an exclamation of afTright^ and dart- 
ed forward so quickly, that I found my- 
self alone and in darkness, almost before 
I perceived he was gone. I followed him, 
but know not why I shuddered as I passed 
that strange dark heap. Just as I reached 
the door, it moved again ; I heard it dis- 
tinctly rustle in the darkness. I sprung 
past it with the quickness of real fear. My 
perceptions were entirely changed; but 
a moment past, and I dreaded nothing 
but the terrible monk and his poison ; but 
the sudden and causeless appearance of 
Filippo, the dim light that led me, this 
still and fantastic gliding through pas- 
sages of unbreathing desolation, and the 
last strange object I had beheld, combined 
with the confusion and horror of my re- 
cent feelings, had rendered me as sus- 
ceptible of momentary and local impres- 
sions, as if I had no other, no personal 


2f54 FATAL revenge; or, 

concern ; as if I was not flying for life — ^ 
for life hardly held and hourly threat- 
ened. Still, under the influence of what 
I imagined I beheld, I eagerly questioned 
Filippo, whom I had now overtaken, and 
who had renewed his swiftness. " That 
chamber,'' said he, incoherently '' ask 
not — hurry on ; your life depends on a 
moment — he is quiet." 

I obeyed him in silence; we crossed other 
chambers and wound through other pas- 
sages I had never beheld before, orknew this 
vast fabric contained; but as I passed, 1 
could not help glancing a thought of horror 
upon the numberless victims of the guilt 
or cruelty of its former possessors, so far 
from the knowledge or sympathy of their 
fellow creatures, though under the same 
roof, and within the sam.e walls ; that it 
was perhaps unknown to their nearest re- 
latives where they existed, or v;hat they 
suffered ; that the groans they uttered, 
might form a part of the respiration of a 
4 fiiend 


friend or a brother, without conveying, 
ta them, that the lips from which they 
issued were so near. We now appeared 
to have traversed that wing of the^ cas- 
tle. We had entered a large hall whose 
doors had a loftier moulding than any 
we had passed;^ and which seemed froni 
the bolder and simpler character of its 
structure, to be near the extremity of the 
building, and probably to communicate 
w^ith the court of the castle. 

Here Filippo paused, and uncovering 
the lamp, began eagerly to examine the 
doors : at several he shook his head with 
the impatience of disappointment. I 
followed him mechanically ; at length,. 
he darted towards one, that lay deep in 
the shade, and vehemently applied to it 
a key, w^hich he snatched from his bosom. 
By the delay, and the imperfect sound 
that followed the application, I knew its 
success too w^ell ; the sound struck upon 
my heart. Filippo the next moment 


2,5(5 FATAL revenge; OR, 

withdrew the key, and disappeared down 
a dark arch, which I had not seen before^ 
bearing the lamp with him. I remained 
in utter darkness. My mind had been 
weakened by trials and sufferings both 
real and fantastic. The moment he was 
gone I became the victim of visionary 
terror. I recollected his sudden appear- 
ance, almost impossible to be effected by 
human means; his strange swiftness and 
silence, his look so wild and unnatural, 
his few words so ominous, his disappear- 
ance without noise or preparation ; 1 re- 
collected the strange warnings given 
to those who were near their dissolution, 
by those who had already undergone it ; 
I recollected how probable it was Filip- 
po had exposed himself to danger, even 
mortal, by his zeal for me ; I recollected 
with horror, the mysterious heap in that 
dark chamber, at which he had seemed to 
pause with portentous shuddcrings ; its 
dimensions and shape were like those 



of a corse. I fell it impossible to nurse 
these horrible imaginings long ; they were 
invading my last half-rallied remains of 
reason ; there was a more probable cause 
for his desertion; but my habitual reli- 
ance on him long resisted that. 

I looked around me, to see if any hope 
Remained from my own exertions; the 
clouds of a heavy night, appearing at 
the high and pillared windows, excluded 
every gleam of light, and prevented me 
from conjecturing, even in what part of 
the building I was. 

As I gazed around, a faint noise came 
to my ear. I listened, it was the mixt 
sound of a voice that whispered, and steps 
that hesitated. 1 stood motionless be- 
twixt hope and fear. '' Hush,'* said a 
voice at some distance ; willing to believe 
it Filippo's, I answered in the the same ac- 
cent. " Is it you," said the voice more 
articulately, " I have been in search of 
you." As the last words were uttered, 

I perceived 


I perceived the voice to be that of my fa- 
ther ! 

I neither exclaimed nor moved, I was 
stiffened and speechless ; to have felt a 
stiletto in my breast, had been almost a 
relief to me at that moment. The steps 
drew nearer ; the blood which appeared to 
have deserted my fi-ame, now rushed back 
with a sudden and feverous glow ; strange 
and accursed thoughts were with me. 
We were in tlie dark; I remembered the 
visitation of the spectre m.onk; 1 remem- 
bered words never heard by man, but 
me— never to be heard. My eyes grew 
dim ; a blaze of purple light quivered 
through the hall, yet I could see nothing 
by its glare. My limbs tottered under 
me; but the influence whose terror would 
have betrayed me, abated. The steps were 
evidently receding ; and as they retired, 
I thought I heard curses hissing along 
the walls. I remained gasping for breath. 
The air of the hall grew cool again, and 


though the darkness was not diminished^, 
its shades, I thought, were less dense and 

On a sudden, I felt myself grasped 
with violence. 1 struggled to free my- 
self I heard the voice of Filippo. I 
believed him treacherous, and all the 
mystery was solved. '' Wretch,'* said I, 
grasping him in my turn, '' you have be- 
trayed me" " What madness is this?" 
he whispered in low but vehement tones, 
'^ for the holy Virgin's sake, follow me ; 
but speak not." " You lead me to death," 
said I ; yet I followed him without resist- 

I now found we were in complete 
darkness. After descending a few steps, 
we stopped. I was urgent in my whis- 
pered inquiries ; but obtained no answer. 
I became impatient of fear and expecta- 
tion, and almost remonstrated aloud, when 
I heard a noise near me, like the open- 
ing of a door; and, in the next moment, 


260 FATAL revenge; ok, 

Filippo led me into the court of the 

It was the air, the free, open air, the 
blessed air of heaven. I breathed it in 
freedom ; it was no dream of transitory 
freedom. I opened my bosom to it ; I 
extended my arms, as if it were tangible 
and material. I was delirious with sud- 
den and incontrolable joy. 

When my senses returned, I found we 
were in a ruinous enclosure, surrounded 
by buildings I had not remembered to 
have seen before ; but which, from their 
appearance, I judged to belong to the 
servants of the castle. In one or two of 
the turrets, that w^ere grotesquely perch- 
ed here and there on the blank and giant 
walls, I still saw lights tv^inkling. Filip- 
po, stooping to the ground, raised up the 
lamp, which he had dexterously hid be- 
hind the fragment of a fallen battlement; 
and we crossed the court in silence, with- 
steps often obstructed by the ruins that 



were scattered over it. We glided thro' 
other arches, whose darkness was partially 
broken by our half-hid light ; and at 
length reached a low door, which opened 
on the rampart. Here still greater cau- 
tion was necessary. This has been long 
in a ruinous state ; our steps were con- 
fined to a narrow ledge of rocky path, 
and our only hold of support was the 
projections and weedy tufts of the dis- 
mantled wall. 

At length the glare of the lamp flash- 
ed upward on a rude and ruined arch, 
which appeared once to have been con- 
nected with the remains of a draw- 
bridge. We crept under it, and, cling- 
ing to its rugged and indented sides, 
which the bickering gleams of the lamp 
carved into fantastic shapings, descend- 
ed to the moat, which the fragments that 
had fallen from above, had almost filled 
aip beneath the arch. We crossed it ; 


^62 FATAL nevENGE; 6m^ 

descended the mound ; and reached the 
wood in safety. 

I now heaped thanks^ inquiries, and 
applauses, in the same breath, on Filip- 
po, who was too busy crossing him- 
self and praying to his patron to heed 

At length, as we lay behind a tuft of 
chesnut trees, for he would not permit 
us as yet to proceed, I procured from 
him the intelligence of the means. 

'' When }^u drove me from you. Sig- 
ner," said he, '' and seemed determined 
to die, I left you with a resolution to 
do something desperate. I was resolved 
you should not perish unaided. This 
was necessary for my own safety, as 
well as yours. I could not imagine they 
would spare me, who was permitted to 
live, only as a means to betray you, 
when it was no longer necessary to 
employ that means. I went back to the 



Count's apartment ; I found him pre- 
paring to quit it, in order to join the 
family in the hall, where they usually 

'* I could not observe any change 
either in his looks or his language. He 
suffered my attendance, as usual, with- 
out notice. I followed to the hall, and 
mixed with the other domestics. On 
this night I observed the confessor had 
joined the family. Through the air of 
deep abstraction he always wears, it was 
impossible to discover his thoughts, or 
w^hether the frame of his mind was ha- 
bitual or peculiar. 

*' As he approached, where the family 
were not yet seated, I observed him 
bring forward, as usual, a small vial of 
lemon juice, which he mixes with wa- 
ter, and which constitutes his only be- 
verage, and place it beside his cover. I 
was near him. The motion of his arm 
shewed me another small vial in his 


264 FATAL r«venge; or, 

vest. I grew deadly sick as I beheld 
it. I had no doubt I saw the instru- 
ment of your death. As he turned round 
he displaced his girdle and rosary. He 
observed it and began to adjust them. 
In order to do so, he found it neces- 
sary to place the other vial on the table, 
to which his back was turned. This 
was the critical moment. The vial of 
lemon-juice was on the right ; the other 
on the left. With the quickness and si- 
lence of thought I changed their places. 
He turned round ; put up the first vial 
into his vest ; and emptied the latter in- 
to a glass of water that stood beside his 

'' When I had done this, I reflected that 
I had only gained time; that it must 
be soon discovered that the monk was 
poisoned, and that you had only swallow- 
ed lemon-juice. If, therefore, I could 
not devise some means of escape in the 
interval which I had gained, I felt it 
5 was 


was unavailing, except so far as to punish 
an intentional murderer; but the success 
and promptitude of my first movement 
suggested a flattering omen, which I ac- 
cepted, not unreadily. 

'' In the mean time the family assem- 
bled. . The Count and his confessor 
whispered often. With unspeakable de- 
light I saw the latter employ the vase 
that stood beside him. Towards the con- 
clusion of the meal, the Count desiring 
the chamberlain to be summoned, spoke 
some words to him in a low voice, on 
which the latter detached a rusty key 
from his girdle, and gave it to the con- 
fessor, Vv^ho lodged it in his vest, I un- 
derstood every motion. It seemed, that 
for some reason, probably that of con- 
cealing the corse, the monk had found 
it necesiary to procure the key from the 
chamberlain. I had glanced on the 'size 
and shape of the key, and though it w^as 

VOL. II. N nothing 


nothing remarkable, I guessed from the 
former, and from the apparent intention 
with which it was procured, that it he- 
longed to some external door of the 
castle, to which, if we could procure 
access^ our safety was assured. I therefore 
resolved to watch the monk silently. I 
concluded, from the conversation that 
I repeated to you, that the poison 
was of a rapid and qn.iet operation. I 
doubted not that the monk would soon 
feel its efrec(s, and if I could be near 
him at the moment^ and secure the keys, 
all was well. 

" The family now separated. The monk 
retired. I watched him at a cautious 
dirtance, and saw him enter his apart- 
ment — to that terrible apartment, even at 
noon day, I knew not what force could 
have compelled me; but now, at night, 
alone, and in darkness, save the dim 
and solitary lamp that burned in the 



passage^ I knelt at the door, and watch- 
ed every sound within. It was now past 
midnight, when I heard him advancing 
abruptly to the door, as if a sudden 
thought had smote him. I retired with 
speed. He came out. I saw him in.'t bend 
forward from the door; and^ holding 
his lamp high, look far into the passage. 
Not a sound breathed along it. He ad- 
vanced ; and I thought I heard him sigh. 
He then went rapidly forward, so rapid- 
ly, that I was alone in the passage. 
His steps, however, were a sufficient di- 
rection for me in the deep stillness of 
the night. He took a direction to your 
apartment. Every moment now I ex- 
pected to sec him falter, or to hear him 
groan, as I glided after him on tip-toe, led 
by the taper that streamed distantly on 
the darkness. 

''' He proceeded, however, without hesi- 
tation, till he entered a large hall, not 
immediately near your apartment. It 
N 2 was 


was empty, and Hir from any inhabited 
part of the castle. I almost shuddered 
to follow him so far ; but the thought of 
you inspired me. I paused in the pas- 
sage which led to the hall. When he 
entered it, I heard him groan audibly. 
He stood a few moments in the centre of 
the room, and then advancing to a picture 
at the opposite end, held his taper close 
to it. He gazed long; and, as he turned 
away, the light fell full on his counte- 
nance. I never had beheld it before so 
singularly impressed. There was a look 
of human agony in it I never before had 
seen, or believed him capable of feeling. 
He then laid the taper down on a marble 
slab, and sat down, with h„' arms folded, 
beside it. 

'' i eyed him intently. There was nei- 
ther change in his countenance, nor 
weakness in his motions. I grew sick 
with fear. He was not like a man that 
had swallowed poison. I doubted, and I 



trembled. I recollected all I had heard 
of him, and some things I had seen. 1 
condemned iviy own temerity in snp- 
!>osino- him a^^aiiable bv the modes of 
human destriiciion. He was evidently 
incapable of being injured by ihem ; and 
if he were u:A, what must befal ine? 

" While these thoughts beset me, I will 
confess to you, I was onlv vvith-he'.d from 
fiving away, and relinquishing the whole 
in despair, by the thought, that if he were 
indeed a being not of this world, all dis- 
tance of space would be ineffectual to 
protect me from him. While I yet de- 
bated and trembled, he rose suddenly, as 
if from an impulse of pain. I leaned 
forward, breathless wi.h fresh hope. At 
that distance, I could not observe any 
change in his features; but, as I gazed, 
methought a yellower tinge mixed with 
the paleness of his visage. In the next 
moment all doubt was removed. He 
gasped, he shivered, and he fell. 

*' I now 


'^ I now came forward with confidence. 
I approached him. His eyes were glazed 
and reverted. He Was evidently in the 
agonies of death. I '^did not wait for 
the mere decencies of humanity. I search- 
ed his vest. I found the keys. I hast- 
ened back to your apartment^ unable to 
speak or to explain. I hurried you to 
the hall where the corse lay ; for I knew, 
by his pausing there, it must be in the 
direction of some outward passage or 
door. I followed the track, partly from 
conjecture, and partly from memory ; 
for I had traversed that part of the castle 
before, and succeeded in my pursuit. 

'' And now, Signer, adieu to dungeons, 
and poison, and monks. We are safe on 
the outside of those grim walls; and if 
ever we enter them again, St. Filippo 
will have a good right to disregard our 
prayers for deliverance.'* 

Such was Filippo's narrative, to which 
I listened with wonder and thankfulness. 

1 readily 


I readily admitted the interposition of 
divine power for our safety ; yet it was 
not without horror that 1 thought of the 
monk and his sudden and terrible fate. 
A degree of involuntary incrediility mix- 
ed, and still mixes itself with my feel- 
ings on that subject. He appears to me 
a being above the vicissitudes of liUina- 
nity — a being who does not, in a mortal 
sense, exist, and who, therefore, cannot, 
in a mortal sense, perish. 

The impression received in the cham- 
ber of my confinement at Mural to, no- 
thing has yet effaced. I mentioned to 
Filippo the voice I had heaid in the 
hall, when he left me so abruptly. This 
he ascribed to fancy ; and perhaps that 
was its only cause. liis own hasty de- 
parture was owing to the sudden recollec- 
tion of a door in an adjacent passage, 
which he wished to attempt without agi- 
tating me by probable disappointment. 
I now inquired why we did not j^ro- 

ceed . 

^72 FATAL revenge; ok, 

ceed ; and was told, that the man who 
brought ice to the castle, and who tra- 
velled at night to avoid the heat, was 
probably on the way which we were to 
take, and that it were better to avoid 
being seen till we reached Naples. 

While we lingered in the wood, I 
raised my eyes, not without awe, to the 
castle, whose huge and massive black- 
ness strongly charactered itself, even 
amid the gloom of night, and the dusky 
confusion of the forest and mountains. 
Far to the ]cit, I saw the ruined chapel, 
that spot which awoke so many terrible 
recollections. It stood in shapeless dark- 
ness. As I gazed on it, I ahnost expect- 
ed to see that mysterious light wandering 
along its walls, and gleaming on tlie dark 
tuits of v/ood and shrubs that invest it. 
As I still looked in vague expectation, a 
light indeed appeared, which I watched, 
not without emotion ; but discovered it 
to be but a star, (the only one that 



twinkled tlirough the darkness of the 
night,) just appearing beneath the arch 
of the shattered window. 

At this moment, steps passed near us, 
which Filippo affirmed to be those of the 
person we waited for ; and w^e pursued 
another direction w^ith our utmost ex- 
pedition. When we had penetrated about 
a mile into the forest, a bell from the 
castle sounded in the air above; and, on 
turning, I saw distinctly a light, that, 
pale at first, as if seen through a case- 
ment, grew suddenly brighter, and pour- 
ed a broad glare on the darkness of the 
upper wood. I believed this to be only 
an indication, that the person who had 
passed us, w^as admitted, by some one 
at the castle, from whose taper pro- 
ceeded the light we had beheld ; but 
Filippo, under more serious apprehen- 
sions of pursuit, persuaded trie to hide 
in an intricate part of the forest, as it 
N 5 %vas 


\^as impossible we could reach Naples 
before our pursuers would overtake us. 
Subdued, but not convinced, I consent- 
ed to conceal myself in a pit, the mouth 
of which was n^an tied over with tangled 
and briery shrubs. The event was only 
a day wasted in watching, solicitude, 
«nd famine. No step passed near us; 
no sound or signal of pursuit was heard 
in the forest. Towards evening we quit- 
ted our retreat, and reached Naples in 
safety, which, since 1 perceive there is 
no immediate persecution excited against 
me, I shall quit with some hope of safe- 

I distrust this calm, however ; it is un- 
natural ; but while it continues, I may 
take advantage of its influence, to escape 
from danger that is only meditated and 

I shall leave Naples to-morrow. 
'Do }0u then hold your intention of 



go'my to I^" " I do ; bat fir^t I 
shall go to C^ivM. T:L2re is aa uncle of 
my mothers, a w^ilthv ecclesi istlc, from 
whom I expect ?.j i.tmce an 1 protection^ 
as he has Ion ^ been on terms of en nity 
with my fat ler. The pre>ent conteiits 
of my pii se wotiLl scarce convey m^ to 
France; and it i: necessary for an adven- 
turer to concili.iti credit bv his appear- 
ance^ as my peculiar circumstances ex- 
clude other recommendati3n. Poor ip- 
polito ! would he were with ne; but 
the tumult of my own feelings and si- 
tuation: has not allowed me to waste 
much sympathy on him. When you 
write, Cyprian, tell of my unhappy cir- 
cumstances ; but do not mention my dis- 
appointment oft discovering his ai.sence; 
for ivould only figgravate hi > own." 
" And the inquiry, begun and 'e^ ninated 
under circum.stances so extrao^dinarv, do 
you intend to pursue it no moie?" said 
Cyprian, timidly. *' Name it net ; t; e 

2 sound 


sound is hateful and terrible to me. I 
abjure the idea of spectres, mysteries, 
and disclosures. 1 will fly from ruins 
and the gloom of antiquity, as I would 
from the mouth of hell, if it yawned at 
my feet. I will chuse the airiest struc- 
tures for my abode^ the lightest topics 
for my conversation. My companions 
shall be those whom levity can easily 
procure, and folly can amuse. The being 
who indulges in the dreams of vision, 
and courts, whether with intentions pure 
or foul, the communion of the forbidden 
world, makes himself a mark for the im- 
position of mankind, ai^l the malignity 
of infernal ones, lie is a fit and w^illino- 


subject for the machinations of hell ; he 
is given over to them by the power he 
has offended by seeking them. I am 
convinced that Satan is permitted a 
greater latitude of temptation, and fierce- 
ness, and frequency of assault, on such 
a being. The pursuit maist tend to sub- 

I ver^ 


vert bis reason and deprave his heart. 
No, no ; whatever I have ^vitnessed or 
been engaged in, whether it be true or 
false, whether it be solemn or futile, I 
here renounce it. Let them find another 
agent for their purposes of horror ; let 
them harden, by familiarity of tempta- 
tion, and assimilate to their own demon- 
natures, by frequency of communication^ 
the alien and apostate soul, that seeks 
their secrets or their presence. I shall 
heal and sooth my distempered mind by 
images of softness and beauty ; by the 
agencies of humanity, and the enjoyments 
of nature and life." 

As he spake, he drew forth the picture 
he always bore in his bosom ; kissed it, 
and gazed on it w^ith complacency. Cy- 
prian, who saw it too, with strong emo- 
tion, begged to look on it more intent- 
ly ; and, while he held it in his hand, his 
tears streamed fast upon it. 

'' Do you know that picture, then.^'' 


278 F/iTAL revenge; or, 

sai'l Annibal in aimze : How is it pos- 
iLie yon should know it?" *' Ask me 
not; it i^MT< possible I should t 11 ; yes, 
I know it too w^ll." '' What mystery 
h ngs ov-r this pi tur-^ ? All tivit see it 
sce'ii to kriow it ; ve^ none will commu- 
nicate th ir ^ Tiow'edge." *' There is a 
mystery, and it is ins- rutable/'' '^ D( es 
the original of this picture, then, live? D^ 
you know her? Tell me but her name : I 
will not ask by what means you obtained th^ 
knowledge of her, nor will I endeavour to 
solve the mystery of resemblance between 
one so Icng dead, and one who lives ; of 
re^einllance without possibility of coi- 
nection." " The original of this picture 
lives, but not to you. If you love her, 
seek not to disturb her quiet or your 
own, 1 y a siarch, of which the su(ce 3 
is I opeless. She never can be ycur's." 
" This is beyond all compreh msioi ; 
the iniiuence pursues me btill ; my 



whole life is to be overshadowed by 

After a night of fruitless inquiry and 
exclamation, Annibal took leave of Cy- 
prian ; and, accompanied by Filippo, set 
out for Capua. 


280 FATAL kevence; OB, 


These men, or are they men, or are they devils, 
With whom I met at night ? — they've fastcn'd on me 
Fell thoughts which, though I spurn them, 
Haunt me still. 


In the mean time, Ippolito, without any 
object but that of flying what was inevi- 
table, had quitted Naples with a single 
attendant, and no other preparation for a 
journey, than an utter indifference to its 
vicissitudes or hardships. On the first 
evening, without having pursued con- 


scioiisly^ any direction, he found him- 
self on the banks of the Lake of Celano. 
It was now the close of autumn, and as 
the wind sw^ept over the dim waters of the 
Lake, and the mists moved in fantastic 
wreaths over the remote and rocky shores, 
sometimes giving the forms of ancient 
structure to the cliffs and headlnnds, and 
sometimes shapings still wilder to the 
scattered fisherm.en's huts, and villas on 
their points ; Ippolito mechanically look- 
ed around for some place to which he 
might retire for the night, without the 
hope of repose. 

'^^ These winding roads," said the at- 
tendant, *' Signor, are so wild and lonely ; 
the nearest town to which we can resort, 
is that of Celano, a good mile further.'* 
Ippolito, too weary of spirit to commu- 
nicate with his servant, silently took the 
direction pointed out to him towards the 
town of Celano, which they reached at the 
close of evening. 


SS2 FATAL revenge; ORj- 

They entered a wretched inn, to the 
many defects and inconveniences of which 
Ippolito was insensible, since he procured 
in it, the only luxury he could enjoy — a 
solitary chamber, against the very case- 
ment of which the waves of the lake 
were beating. 

Here for the first time he thought on 
what direction he would pursue. Many 
were suggested, and many rejected, till 
Jppolito, wondering at his own fastidious- 
ness, began to examine into its reasons, 
and discovered, with a sensation nearly 
amounting to horror, that there was 
spread over his mind a sen e of invisible 
and universal persecution, vv^hich im- 
pelled his thoughts in their flight from 
place to place, with the same velocity that 
its actual inlUience would have chased 
his steps. When this convic ion struck 
him, in utterablc anguish he started from 
his chair, and pcused for a moment between 
the impulse o^ fright, and ihe torpor of 



•tespiiir. That this influence should have 
attained this absolute dominion in hismind, 
and asserted that dominion in the very mo- 
ment when the change of place had 
iiattered him with partial victory, was not 
to be borne. His distraction almost appli- 
ed to the stupendous frame of the Psalmist^ 
when he exclaimed, '' Whither shall I go 
from thy presence ?" Of the latter clause 
he idt the truth too forcibly, *' If I go 
down to Ilt/l, thou art there also." As he 
stalked about the room, some persons 
in the next spoke so loudly, that he was 
compelled to hear them without any ef- 
fort of attention. As he listened to the 
voices, he recollected the speakers were 
a party of vine-dressers and labourers, who 
w ere returning to their native territory — 
the Abruzzo, from the neighbourhood of 
Aaples, whither they had been allured 
during the summer, by the hope of higher 
wages. They were now drinking in th3 
adjacent room with the landlord. " it is 

a s range 

284 FATAL REVENGE ; 01?, 

a strange business," said one, addressing 
the host, whose name was Borio, '^ nor do 
I like speaking of it much. 1 never liked 
to have Satan's name often in my mouth; 
for, Chrisio henedetto, one is so apt to 
think of him, when one is alone. When 
I have to cross the mountain near our 
village by night, or to watch the grapes 
in the hut alone, I never listen to stories 
such as those in the day ; I always fill my 
mind with store of good hymns ; but when 
there is a good number of us together, as 
we are now, I feel that I have as much 
courage as another. And so, comrades, 
as I was saying, they talked of nothing 
else all over Naples. Some said that the 
cavalier had devoted him.self, body and 
soul, to Satan ; and that he met him every 
night in some place underground, where 
no one could discover ; that his servants 
never could trace him further than the 
portico of the palace ; and that some who 
attempted to follow him, were all invested 



in a glare of blue fire, and their torches 
were dashed out of their hands by a hoof 
of red-hot iron. 

Others said, that it was not the young 
cavalier's fault, but his great-grandfather's, 
who had sold all his posterity to the old 
serpent, for a great heap of treasure he 
gave him ; but that the purchase was not 
to be claimed till this generation, and 
that it was forfeit at the time of the last 
carnival ; when the fiend appeared to 
the unfortunate youths habited like a 
minstrel, and playing on a harp, whose 
strings were the guts of necromancers. 
' Your time is come, you must away !* and 
that all the grove where he glided along, 
has been blasted and bare ever since/' 
'' Now by what I have heard," said the 
host, " the fiend has more Christian bowels, 
an uses the Cavalier like a man of ho- 
nour, for I hear he has given him per- 
mission to wander over Italy for a year 
and a day ; and if he can get a priest to 


?85 FATAL revenge; o», 

give him absolution, he quits his claim o\% 
him Tor ever." " Ila^ ha," exclaimed 
another, ir a tone of superior wisdom^ 
'' do you, liiend, take the d vil to be such 
afooi ? no, no, rely on it, if he quits him 
on the simple tcore o^ witchcraft, he will 
stick his claws fast in him on an action of 
bond and comp;u:t. It is marvellous, 
nriohhoiir?, how sim.ple ye are ; why it 
is ji; i 1 t; world below us as it is here ; 
witchcraft i like contracting a debt, bu 
a compart is lik ^ a bond — if once Satan is 
able to prrdr.ce it in open court against 
the defendrnt, the inquisition itself must 
acknowledge -t ; nay," (exalting his voice 
with his argument), ''his holiness the 
pope himself must sign as a competent 

All seemed struck by the force of this 
argument, and a pause of general medita- 
tion ensued, till one of the party, whose 
voice was that of an old man, said with 
an apparent diffidence of his own senti- 


Kicnts, " Now were I to give an opinion, 
it would be tliat the Cavalier was neither 
devoted to Satan by himself nor his an- 
cestors. Aii^ neighbours, did you see 
what a goodly and noble youth he '-'i <o 'ook 
at, ye never couH belie\e he deal? *\ 
any thing evil — no, no, as long as j re- 
member, or as lor»g as my father c v\d. 
remember, the Montorio were a g'eat, 
proud, wicked family ; they did deeds of 
mischief enough among themselves, with- 
out the aid of Satan ; they were always 
threatened with discoveries ; and dying 
assassins, employed by them, confessed 
terrible things, it was said. Now perhaps 
isomething of this kind is about to be 
disclosed, and the Cavalier's noble heart 
is breaking to think of it, and he cannot 
bear to stay in Naples any longer, to wit- 
ness the ruin of bis family.*' 

At this mild construction of IppoTito's 
flight, every one uttered a murmur of 
jdisapprobatiop. The love of the marvel- 

288 FATAL revenge; OHj 

lous is too jealous for its gratifications, 
and too irritable for its credit^ to yield 
to incredulity so easily. And the former 
speaker, elated by his success, was anxi- 
ous to preserve the popularity it had ac- 
quired him. '' Old man/'saidhe, "yon are 
much mistaken; if the Cavalier be per- 
mitted to traverse Italy, rely upon it, 'tis 
for the purpose of bringing others to his 
master's service, in order to escape bet- 
ter himself; for that is the way Satan 
always deludes those poor v/retches. He 
promises reward and honour to those who 
are zealous in his service ; and when they 
have seduced souls without number, and 
finally lost their own, then he rewards 
them after his own manner, which any 
f>ne knows that has once seen the great 
picture near the shrine of St. Antonio, at 
the Church del Miroli, near Naples. 

There, all the degrees and kinds of 
punishment that ever were invented 
are exercising upoa the hosts of ruined 


THK FAMILY 01^ montorio. 289 

tpirits ; one would think the devils had 
been all in the Inquisition, they are so 
clever at it ; you could swear you smelt 
brimstone, and felt a heat like that of a 
furnace, breathed over you from it ; but 
only to tell you of one group in it, there 
are three figures '' 

Here Ippolito heard the clustering 
sound of his hearers drawings more close- 
ly around him, his misery became sud- 
denly intolerable, and he groaned aloud. 
Terrified at the sound, they all desisted to 
speak or to listen, and without venturing 
to comment on the cause of the disturb- 
ance, the last speaker said in a voice of fear, 
*' I believe we had better cease to speak 
on this subject, unless some ecclesiastic 
was in the house with us. '' ^^ There is a con- 
vent of Dominicans near these walls/' said 
the host, who was anxious for the conclu- 
sion. '' How near," said the other, whose 
desire of exciting wonder was contend- 
ing with fear. '' You may hear the ves- 

voL. II. o per 

5290 FATAL revenge; or, 

per bell from this," said the host, evasivel} 
'' But how near, friend Borio, tell me 
precisely how near ?'* " 'Tis a long- 
mile,'* said the host, reluctantly. The 
speaker declined to finish his story on 
this security. '' The devil's in it," said 
the host in his disappointment, " if the 
toll of that bell, and the chaunt of the 
monks at vespers, are not sufficient to 
frighten the devil, if he were in this 

His companions reproved him for pro- 
faneness, gnd the host, to retrieve the 
credit of his sanctimony, said, " Whatever 
be the cavalier's intentions in this journey, 
I would not Le the host to receive him 
for the wealth of the Vatican. I warrant, 
the smell of sulphur never would quit the 
room he lay in ; and if I received a single 
cci.i f om him, I should expect it to turn 
into a bunung coal in my hand."' " You 
had bitter be on your guard, friend Bo- 
rio,"' said another, in the mere wanton- 


ness of wisdom, " I hear he was seen to 
take this direction." " By the holy saints^ 
there came a cavalier to my house this 

There was now a general commotion 
of fear, followed by a whispering consul- 
tation. Ippolito's first impulse was to 
quit the inn, but he recollected that would 
only confirm their suspicions, and perhaps 
make his further progress difficult. Ano- 
ther expedient occurred, but his proud 
heart long struggled with the necessity 
of deceit. At this moment he heard his: 
servant passing under the v/indow ; he 
called him, and without specifying his 
reasons, desired that he would en no ac- 
count, mention his name or rank in the 
house, nor during any future part of the 
journey, which he must be in readiness 
to pursue as soon as possible. The man, 
proud of a charge that resembled an ap- 
proach to confidence, readily promised 
to observe it ; and that his fidelity might 
o 2 not 

?92 FATAL revenge; or, 

not want the merit of resisted tempta- 
tion, immediately repaired to the room 
where the vine-dressers were seated with 
the host. 

They had just resolved to send for him-, 
in order to discover whether his master 
was the Count Montorio, and now received 
him with the overcharged welcome, that 
suspicion gives to hide her own purposes. 
^' Pray friend/" said the host, after they 
had drank some time, " what is the ca- 
valier, your master's name ?" "His name — 
his name" — said the man, who in the de- 
termination to conceal the real, had for- 
got to provide himself with a fictitious 
one. *' Aye, his name,'' continued the 
host, " 1 suppose you have lived with him 
but a short time?" *' I have lived with 
the Signor several years," said the man, 
in his eagerness to prove he was not un- 
prepared for every question, and to re- 
trieve the ground his embarrassment had 
lost, *' You have lived with him seve- 


ml yearsj and yet do not know his name ; 
that is strange indeed, stranger than any 
thing I have yet heard?" " Why what have 
you heard of the Signov?" said the man, 
glad to become the inquisitor in his turn. 
" I have heard he sometimes walks at 
night/' said the other, significantly. *' To . 
be sure he does, and so do all the ca- 
valiers in Naples," said the man trium- 
phantly. '^ Aye ; but do you know 
where he goes ?'* said the host, lowering 
his voice. " No ; nor does any one else," 
said the man, betraying a material part of 
his intelligence, in his solicitude to prove 
that no one was wiser than himself. 
'' You never attend him on those oc- 
casions ?" pursued the host. " Santa 
Maria, no," said the man shuddering. 
*' What would you take, and accompany 
him in one of his nightly wanderings .^" 
said the host, pursuing his victory. 
'' Not the wealth of Loretto,'' said the man, 
who recollected the terrible stories he 


!994 PATAL revekge; or, 

had heard of his master at Naples, and 
who had answered his own thoughts, ra- 
ther than the questions addressed to him. 
" Then it is all true/' said the old man. 
" Holy saints ! what a pity !" '' What is a 
pity?" said the lackey, roused from his 
fibstraction by the exclamation. *' What 
you have just confessed about your mas- 
ter !" said the host. *' I confess ?" said the 
man ; '' I would not confess if I was torn 
with pincers; I confessed nothing.'' ''Nay; 
it was not much either/' said one of 
the men, a shrewd fellow ; you only 
aclinowledged your master was one of 
t\\Q. Montorio family.'' *- I will be torn 
in ten thousand pieces first,'' said the man, 
with increased vehemence ; '' you are a 
horrid and atrocious villain to say I ac- 
knowledged it : 1 never did, and never 
wiil."' " Corne, come," said his wily op- 
ponent; ''you need not be in a fury ; 
perhaps I mistook you ; but you must 
confess, that if he is not one of the fa- 


mily he is remarkably like them.*' '' To 
be sure/' said the man, again sacrificing 
his cause to his power of answering a 
partial objection, '' to be sure ; there is 
a strong fa ?7i ill/ -likeness among them 

Here a general cry of triumph arose, 
which drowned even the angry exclama- 
tions of the servant ; and Ippolito, dis- 
tracted by the consequences of his folly, 
and the superstition of the rest, silent- 
ly quitted the chamber, remounted his 
horse, and pursuing the first track he 
discovered, with all the speed that dark- 
ness and weariness permitted, wms many 
miles from Celano, before the party had 
resolved w^hether to summon the Domi- 
nican brethren to their aid, or to send 
express to the Inquisition at Naples. 

The hardships of his wanderings, ra- 
ther than his journey, were lost in more 
painful subjects of meditation^ The se- 
cret of his soul was known — that deep 



and eternal secret^ that he believed 
buried in the bowels of the earth. It 
was known ; and the tumult of his 
thoughts forbid the conjecture by what 
means it was know^n, or how its further 
diffusion might be prevented. 

The only sensation that prevailed in 
his mind, was a confusion undefined, and 
unappeasable, that could neither trace 
the forms of danger, nor discover what 
way of flight from it was to be pur- 
sued. He trembled, though he scarce 
recollected what was past ; he deprecat- 
ed, though he knew not what was to 
come; he fied without an object in 
flight ; and he increased his speed, as 
the motives of fear became more and 
more obscure to his mind. The darkness 
and remoteness from human resort or 
notice, in which the transactions at 
Naples had passed, had utterly excluded 
sll suspicion that they \vere known, or 
could be known to any individual but 



himself. And such was the abstraction 
and intentness of mind with which he 
was engaged in them, that had such a 
suspicion occurred, it could not have 
suspended the pursuit a moment. Along 
"with the circumstance itself, all conse- 
quences, remote or obvious, were equal 
strangers to his mind. When, therefore, 
the fact itself, with all the consequences 
that the suspicions of ignorance, and the 
rage of superstition could attach to it, 
rushed on his mind, unforeseen and un- 
w^eighed, without a power of preparation 
or resistance, he staggered under the 
shock; it blasted and astounded him. 
For a moment, visionary and remote 
fears were banished by substantial and 
imminent terrors. The anguish of terror 
that cannot name its object, and of guilt 
that cannot ascertain its danger, gather- 
ed over his mind. A sensation of rare 
and excruciating influence ; the sensa- 
tion of all our measures being antici- 
o 5 * pated; 

99S FATAL revenge; ok, 

pated ; our progress measured aud ruin- 
ed ; the exact reach of our boundary 
calculated and shadowed out ; the in- 
inost recesses of our mind violated and 
laid waste ; and Omniscience engaged on 
the side of our enemies to destroy us, 
overcame him. No murderer^ at whose 
feet a sudden whirlwind would dash the 
witness of his guilt before unsuspecting 
thousands ; no traveller^ at whose naked 
breast the lightnings are aiming, before 
a cloud has been seen to gather in the 
heaven, ever gazed around them, so trans- 
fixed and appalled. 

His immediate impulse was flight. He 
urged his horse to his utmost speed; 
and still all speed sunk under the ve- 
locity of his thoughts. His mind was 
rather irritated than appeased by the 
tumult of motion. An imaginary line 
seemed to run beside him, which he 
could neither measure nor out-run. His 
speed left nothing but space behind; and 



Kis progress seemed nothing but an ap- 
proach to mischief. 

Towards morning he found himself in 
a part of the country, whose wildness 
and savageness insensibly poured quiet 
and confidence on his mind. It was man 
he dreaded ; and here there was no trace 
of man. Rocks and waters; whose wreath- 
ed and fantastic undulations, almost re- 
sembled the clouds that hovered round 
them, melting their hues and shapes in- 
to their own unsubstantial forms of misty 
lightness, presented a range of scenery, 
more meet for the haunt of an aerial 
genius than a mortal inhabitant. 

Far to the left, as the fuller tints of 
morning deepened and defined the sha- 
dowy characters of the mountain land- 
scape, Ippolito descried a dim cluster 
of cottages, perched in the hollow of 
two hills, whose antic and spiry pin- 
nacles seemed to have been cleft for its 
reception. The opposite features of its, 



wild and sheltered situation presenting 
a contrast that divided the feelings be- 
tween awe and pleasure. To the inha- 
bitants of a place so sequestered, Ippo- 
lito believed he might safely apply for 
ibod and refuge. 

Thither therefore he directed his course, 
and found, that whatever wonder he ex- 
cited, was occasioned by the appearance 
of a stranger in so remote a region. 
Here he reposed for some days, like a bird 
that, chased and wounded, regains her 
nest amongst inaccessible rocks, and 
spreads her torn plumage to the winds 
of freedom. He was excited to person- 
al exertion to render existence tolerable. 
Here were no artificial resources, no ex- 
pedients to disguise the waste of time, 
and renew the spirit of enjoyment. He 
was impelled to vigorous bodily exercise, 
xit first to exhaust the throbbings of 
inward pain, and afterwards to gratify 
a newly-acquired sense of pleasure. An 
1 extraordinary 


extraordinary vis^our of frame^ which 
the voluptuous indolence of Naples had 
enervated, was renewed by his mountain 
habits; and the change was in some time 
extended to his mind. He was at first 
soothed by the dash of the cataract, the 
hum of the winds in the mountain ca- 
verns, the masses of rock, bold, abrupt, 
and detached, that often assumed the 
port of some ancient Gothic structure ; 
their marked and storied ascents and 
towery summits, shaping out the fantastic 
forms of its architecture ; and the beams 
of the setting sun, reflected from a sur- 
face, resplendent with hues of verdure 
and stains of marble, aptly portraying 
. the illuminated windows, glorious with 
the colours of blazonry. 

By these he was at first soothed, and 
weaned from painful remembrance ; but 
in a short time, he visited them with 
positive pleasure, not for the sake of 


302 FATAL revenge; 01?, 

"vvhat they took away, but of what they 

It is impossible for a mind, not con- 
scious of great crimes, to be conversant 
with nature, without feeling her balmy 
and potent influence. The quiet magic 
of loneliness, the deep calm of unbreath- 
ing things, the gentle agitations of inani- 
mate motion, poured themselves into the 
very recesses of his soul, and healed 

At first, when he rushed into these soli- 
tudes, he mentally resolved to devote 
himself to the contemplation of his situa- 
tion, and of some bold, gigantic effort by 
which he resolved to free himself from 
his thraldom ; but as vv^eariness and dis- 
traction were the only result of his de- 
liberation, he suffered it gradually to 
steal from his mind, and balanced be- 
tween the reproaches of indolence, and 
the refreshment of tranquillity. 



He was amused in his solitude by some 
papers of Cyprian's, which, in the hurry 
of his departure from Naples, he had 
unintentionally taken along with him. 
They related to that mysterious story 
which he had leh unfinished. Ippolita 
had almost forgot, that the object of it 
had been attached to him. The other 
extraordinary circumstances of the nar- 
rative, strange and remote as they were, 
Cyprian's enthusiasm had thrown a shade 
of incredulity over; and Ippolito read it 
as a representation of events that had 
never existed. 

In the papers he now read, the au- 
thor's mind appeared weary of the or- 
dinary modes of language, and progress 
of narrative. She had selected different 
periods, as eras in her melancholy his- 
tory, and written a few lines on each in 
the language of poetry. 

They were monotonously melancholy. 
It was a passion apparently unbroken 


304 FATAL revenge; ok, 

by an interval of tranquillity, unillumin- 
ed by a single ray of hope. She had 
loved as none had ever loved, ?nd suf- 
fered as few had suffered. Nor would 
Ippolito have understood the reason or 
possibility of such despair, had he not 
recollected to have heard from Cyprian, 
that the unfortunate female had been a 
nun ; that she had not seen the ob- 
ject that fascinated her, till she was un- 
der irrevocable engagements ; and that 
though her " love, stronger than death,'* 
had survived in these posthumous lamen- 
tations, it had not the power to make 
her transgress the barrier of religion, by 
a disclosure of it while she lived. The 
first appeared to have been written when 
passion had lingered long enough to know 
it was hopeless ; when the first clouds of 
melancholy began to gather over her feel- 
ings — it was written on a second accidental 
view of the object of her affections. 



OxCE more I caught thy form — 'twas but a mo- 
ment — 
A moment! passion lives an age in moments. 
Feeling can trace the boundless range of being, 
Kach maze of fancy, each abyss of thought. 
Joy's rose-twined bowers, and memory's pictured cells 
Ilecal the past, anticipate the future. 
Exhaust all forms of life, and dreams of vision 
Within a moment's lapse. 

So Mecca's seer, as the wild legend tells, 
On the supernal wing of vision soared ; 
Explored the star-strewn paths of Paradise, 
Drank the rich gale, that laps her pearly gates, 
And swept the circle of the seven-fold heaven 
Ere mortals marked a moment's flight below. 
So bright, the while I caught thy passing form ; 
So brief, or ere I lost it. 

Chance, 'tis thy checkered influence to dispense 
The hour that gives him to my visible eyes — 
'J'he hour that memory treasures ; but I boast 
Beyond thy spt-rt or spleen, one solace yet, 
One last, one dear, one sud — Oh, 'tis when eve 
Di-^preads her dew-wove veil, when no rudt* eye 
I^Iarks my wan check, slow step, and start abrupt 
(Pale passion's guide, the weeds of fancy's thrall). 
To wander and to muse unmarked, unknown. 
To trace the thought, no bVeabt has e're conceived. 


506 FATAL revenge; or^ 

To Ikhvc tl.osigh, no car has ever drank, 

And t/iinciv.u^t^ ni'vcM — f/iineoi all must, never — - 

Oljy 'tis to wish ImposbibditfS ! 

Yet -start to think ihtni nai. 'lis to trace 
IMy sad laic in these sands, while ainik'^s liope 
Puints tiie rtpproaching in tli' in.agintti hour ; 
Vro<ies to the storied spot thy wandering eye, 
And all's dibcloset'. Oh, then I fly ! delaee, 
Disperse thi ni quick, lest one surviving trace 
Shoidd tell the tale, I'd — give a world lliou kncvv'st. 
'Th oft to pour the secret yet untold 
In lines like these, of love's <jespair that liopt s, 
Then rend the fragments, give them to the wind»> 
Tremhle, lest one be v\afted to thine hand, 
Mhile dreams th'extinctUss hope, " Perhaps it may.** 
Oh, 'tis to waste my life in ])rayers to see thee, 
And wlicn thy dibtant form re^lumes my view 
To hidr me, and to (\y ; then, when thou'i t past, 
To kiss the light-pressed path, ih' imaginecUpot 
Thy shade has crossed and hallowed — oft my soul 
Sunk in voluptuous vacancy, resigns 
Herself to tloat down fancy's fairy stream, 
(Unconscious and unheeding of its lapse). 
Oh, then, how bright the dream ; its magic tint's 
Paint passion possible, and nature kind. 
Thee, thee, I see, I hear, I touch — hark, h.-itk — 
The vesper-beii — it tells me of despair. 



or the next, whatever the execution 
might be, the subject was perhaps the 
mobt interesting that could occur in 
poetry : it purported to represent a mind 
deeply sunk in passion, yet alive to a 
feeling the most painful and h.ostile to 
passion that can exist ; a conviction of the 
unworthiness of its object. The struggles 
of reluctant conviction, and the anguish 
of involuntary fondness, were portrayed 
as in a narrative; but Ippolito easily dis- 
covered the sentiments and situation of the 
unfortunate nun. 

lie (lied — living he (lied, 

Living, but dead to iier, whose ceaseless toil 
To win him from the weary paths of sin, 
Long with vain essay strove ; but when she found 
'1 hat on a mind so weak, no lofty precept 
To virtue's lore, wrought with incitement high, 
That on a soil so light, instruction's seed 
Fell fruitless ; like the exiled llagar of yore, 
(Who wandering in the wilds of Beer-Sheba, 
Saw the last morsel of her pittance spent. 


308 FATAL revenge; or. 

Saw its last drop scarce wet her babe^s parched lip, 
And seeing, said, with hopeless anguish bowed — 
Let me not see him die !— and went far off 
And wept) : so went she to a spot remote. 
And wept — ceaseless and silent wept j no gleam 
Of tremulous light played on her evening hour, 
No sheeny phantoms of the tints of morn 
Wove to her eye the painted visions of joy, 
Or struck their airy harps far heard. Her life 
Was lone, her purpose strange, but never brake. 
She reared an antic structure, wild and simple, 
Like some lone eremite^s tomb, and callc d it his. 
She watched beside his tomb, in patience, pale, 
With sunk and tearless eye, and lips that moved 
In inward prayer for him, whom she deemed dead 
To all worth living for. She hung that tomb 
With garUnds, fancy- wrought, and dim of hue ; 
They were as wild as mountain-spirits' song, 
They mocked all rule, and scorned all art — and yet 
No child of feeling true, might see that wreath, 
Nor wake their waning colours with a tear. 

Far other employ she hoped for them — with these 
She would have strewn his path, or wreathed his brow, 
Or decked the polished hours of virtuous life. 

But little did he reck of virtuous life, 
Or aught but the loose flow of dance, and song, 
And roar of midnight revel — sad she heard, 



And still she sat in pale and pined constancy; 
Yet not without impulse of natural sorrow, 
(Strong throes of anguish, cleaving still to life), 
She thought on her lasthopes, her withered heart, 
Her youth departed, and her mind decayed. 

Yet still she loved — yea, still loved hopeless on. 
Infatuate passion desperate, still lit 
Her hollow eye, still warmed her fevered lip-— 
The memory of her first love, like rich music 
Sung in her witched ear. She was condemned 
T' outlive the object, but the passion — never 

The author appeared to have had a 
knowledge of the unhappy life of the per- 
son she was attached to, deeper than was 
necessary to furnish the garniture of po- 
etical sorrow. She appeared intimately 
to feel, and to deplore with the mingled 
zeal of religion and love, the evil habits 
that had overspread and abused a noble 
heart. Such were the feelings intended 
to be portrayed in the following lines : 



That tempting fruit, how ripe it hangs, 
How lich it grows on high ; 

And there I reacli my helpless hands, 
There tix my straining eye. 


Oh, not for me, those gay tints rich 

Its mellow cheek adorn ; 
Ah, not for me, its odours fine 

Vie with spring's bud-wreath'd morn 


Oh, but to taste those ncctar'd sweets, 

That I a bird might be ; 
Oh, that I were the common air 

Uncheck'd that blows on thee. 


How oVr thy ripe cheek's glowing down, 
W ould I my soft tale sing ; 
' Hew faint amid the sweets I fann'd, 
With rapture-dancing wing, 


How would 1 chase each reptile rude, 
That saps thy wasted bloom ? 

How would my whispering jicnnons play, 
To wake thine hid perfume. 




Enough for mc the joy, to view 

Thy purer beauties glow, 
Bid unrestrained those odours rise, 

Whose sweets I ne'er must know. 

In these lines Ippolito discovered an 
attempt made to express a strange and 
complicated feeling, that often occurs in 
real love, when existing under a desparity 
of circumstances — 'tis that feeling which 
arises from a mixt sensation of moral de- 
basement, and w^orldly rank and splendour; 
of which the effect is partly to awe by 
magnificence, and partly to interest by 

The unfortunate vestal seemed to be 
betrayed by the very feelings on which 
she depended for her defence; she was 
exidently fascinated by the rank, the spi- 
rit, and the exce s?s of the man she loved, 
as well as by the qualities by which love 
is more propeily excited; she was daz- 

2 zled 

312 FATAL revenge; OR, 

zled by the glare of the very vices she 
affected to deprecate ; she was strnck with 
involuntary admiration of splendid disso- 
luteness, and tumultuous grandeur — yet 
often the sentiments of these lines spoke 
merely the sighs of desire, such as are 
poured out in the involuntary excess of 
the mind, and without a reference either 
to hope or to despair. 

Such were the following : 

I wish I were a vernal breeze, 

To breathe upon thai eheek of down ; 

Then I might breathe without a fear, 
Then I might sigh without a frown. 


I wish I were a burnished fly, 

To sport in thine eye's sunny sheen ; 

There wing my raptured hour unheard, 
There dazzled droop, and die unseen. 

T v.'ish I were a blushing flower 

AVithin thy breast one hour to reign; 



Then I might live without a crime; 
Then I might die without a pain. 

Sometimes amid this blaze of linciiriant 
fondness^ a sudden cloud of remorse and 
horror would intervene, as in these lines. 


Oh, come to my arms, whose faltering cla^^p 

Is still folding thy phintom in air ! 
Oh, visit mine eye, whose fancy- wrought spell 

Is still raising thy form in its sphere ! 


Oh, let my languid head sink on thy breas-t, 

Other refuge or rest it has none ! 
Oh, let my full heart once heave upon thine, 

And its throbs, audits tumults are done I 


Antl I'll lose, while my swimming eye floats oa ...y 
All thought, but the thought, it is thine ; 
And I'll quench'in the nectar that bathes thy red 


The fever that's burning in mine. 

VOL. II. y ly. 

314 FATAL revenge; ok, 


And lapt in the dream, I'll forgot that a voice 
^Vould recalj that a fear would reprove — 

Till I start as the lightning is laniced at my head. 
And wonder there's guilt in our love. 

With these alternate struggles of pas- 
sion that could not stifle conscience, and 
of principle too weak to contend with pas- 
sion, many others were filled. One ar- 
rested Ippolito's attention, from having the 
following sentence in prose, prefixed to 
it : '' The disguise I have assumed, sup- 
plies me with many an hour of weak in- 
dulgence. Sometimes I pass almost close 
to him, catch the sounds of his voice, lin- 
ger at night near his dwelling, drops of 
slow poison each — but how fatal-sweet ! 
Last night, I touched the very railing on 
which I saw him lean but an hour before, 
as he descended the steps — touched it ! 
Ildefonsa reproached me ; but I have re- 
sisted other reproaches than her's — Why 
should I yield to human monitions, what 



I have refused to those of my own heart, 
and of heaven ?" 


'Tis vain — 'tis vain my lips to move, 

'Tis vain my arms to sever ; 
Thou hast my everlasting love. 

And thou shalt have it ever. 


Oh, why to tempt my doubted faifh, 

Those dread recitals borrow ? 
Know, trifler, they who dare to live, 

Dread not to die of sorrow 1 


Why tell the pangs of vows unheard. 

The woe of hopes undone ? 
To weep was all ray vows e'er woo'd, 

To weep was all they won. 


I asked to view thy heaven-lit eye. 
Till these v/eak eyes were blasted ; 

I asked to view that bliss-bathed lip, 
Till mine with wishing wasted. 

No soft reward of blameless love 
E'er sooth'd mine unheard wooing; 

p 2 Tor 

SIG FATAL revenge; or. 

For oh ! — a glance was phrensy's fiie, 
A touch had been undoing. 


Not mine to love with florid art, 

I wove no poct-willow ; 
My inward tears prey'd on my heart, 

My husliM sighs score hM my pillow, 

VII. ' 

No cherishM hope of rich return 

E'er sooth'd with promised pleasuise : 
Love rifled all my native store. 

But gave no added treasure, 

The tear that seeks the shade to fall. 

The sigh that silence breathes ; 
And this fond moment's wilder woe. 

Are all that love bequeaths, 


Chill emblem of my iron fate. 
Yet guiltless, I may grasp thee ; 

\Voo thy cold kjss without a blush, 
And wildly, fondly clasp thee. 


Then take, oh take this feverous kiss 
To meet his lip vain burning ; 



And take, oh take this smothered sigh, 
That wooGS no ibnd returning. 


And crasli, oh crush this harnss*d breast. 

No more to wild hope waking, 
And take (oh, would it were the last) 

Throbs of a heart that's breaking, 


T<\ rather breathe these hopeless sighs 

Than vows of sanctioned duty ; 
rd rather leave this lost kiss here, 

Than press the lip of bcuuty. 


But ch, the bitter — bitter thought 

That thus it must be, ever 
To woo thy shade, to watch thy step,- 

But nearer — never, never ! 


To feel my lips unbidden form 

What they must never say ; 
To feel my eyes in gazing fi.Vd,. 

In gazing waste away. 


Of vision'd days, and restless nights, 
A weary length to rollj 


^18 fata:, revenge; oh. 

With passion on my lever'd lip, 
And anguish in my soul. 

Yet Eome relief to weep and vow, 

AVhat time can frustrate — never, 
1 hou hast my everlasting love. 

And thou shalt have it ever. 

Ippolito had perused these lines^ stretch- 
ed on the mossy roots of an ash in a ^viid 
dell ; when he had finished the last, he 
perceived that the evening had already 
gathered round him. He rose, and re- 
mounting his horse, which was fastened to 
an adjacent tree, rode homeward to the 

He lingered in the way, for the images 
of sadness, had combined with the hues 
of evening to pour a voluptuous melan- 
choly over his soul. Within a furlong 
of the hamlet, he entered a woody defile, 
where the branches of the tall, thick trees 
meeting above, excluded light even at 
noon-day, and now deepened the gloom 


of gathering night. Across the high 
banks and matted wood-path of this dell, 
the roots of the trees branched into a 
thousand antic ridges and carvings; while 
above, the foliage, so thick and bowery, 
scarce admitted the wind to whisper 
through its leaves, or the birds to find 
their way to the nests, that seemed woven 
into a verdurous wall. Ippolito paused 
as he entered it to mark the rich gleam 
ofw^estern light its opposite extremity 
admitted. At that moment -e face ap- 
pearing beside him audibly pronounced^ 
** Why do you linger here ? your fate may 
be forgotten, but will not be long unful- 
filled." It seemed to pass him as it spoke, 
and was lost in the gloom of the wood. 
It was the voice, the face of the 
stranger; in darkness, in midnight he 
would have known it. He lost not a mo- 
ment in thought ; the very force of his 
fear gave him speed like a whirlwind ; 
calling, commanding, adjuring him to 



Stay or to return, he plunged into ihe 
•wood, and while he could trace his shadow 
in thought, or the vestige of motion, or 
sound that followed him, he pursued it 
with a speed that seemed to make all hu- 
man flight unavailing. It was in vain ; 
in an hour he was many miles from the 
dell in the wood, but had not obtained a 
a glimpse of him he pursued. His feelings 
were too tempestuous to weigh circum- 
stance?, or pause over doubts; he had 
but one object— to discover if this dreaded 
being could really pervade ail space, 
and overtake all flight. If he had in vain 
called on the mountains to cover him, 
and hid himself where even the jealous 
rage of superstition had failed to discover 
him. He paused on a rising ground, to 
catch the last remains of the light, as 
they faded over the wide prospect before 
him. He saw at a distance what he at first 
believed to be a young tree, whose 
branches were, tossed by the wind; but 



his eye, sharpened by fear was not long 
deceived — it was a human figure, tall 
and dark, that moved onward with amaz- 
ing swiftness, and whose outspread and 
streaming garments were flung to the 
wind, like the foliage of a tree. Again he 
called, again he hastened forward, but his 
voice was only echoed by winds and woods, 
and his speed only led him to wilder, 
haunts, and remoter distance. 

He rode all night with unabated eager- 
ness of pursuit, and towards morning, 
first felt his confidence decline on seeing 
before him a town, from whose numerous 
avenues,, roads branched in every direc- 
tion. But though not successful, he 
yielded to the weariness of the noble ani- 
mal that bore him, and entering the first 
inn he saw, summoned the camariere, 
and inquired, had a person of the stranger s 
appearance, which he described shudder- 
ing at his own precision, passed through 
the town. The man listened to him with 
p 5 a look 


a look, which Ippolito thought might be 
o\vi;ig to the stern earnestness of his 
own ; but replied without hesitation, 
there had not. Ippolito then dismissed 
him, and wearied by the wanderings of the 
night, sunk into a perturbed and broken 

When he awoke, he perceived he had 
devoted more hours to repose, than his 
time admitted ; the day was far spent, and 
he called impatiently for his horse. No 
plan of pursuit was suggested to him, but 
he determined to follow the open track 
of country through the principal towns, 
and inquire for the stranger as he passed 
throu<^h each. 

As he quilted the inn, a servant appear- 
ed with his horse ; a rustic was leaning 
carelessly against a post of the shed from 
which he had been just led. Ippolito 
observed as he sprung into his seat, that 
the servant eyed him intently, and in- 
quired the reason. " You are very like 
a cavalier I have seen in Naples, Signor," 



said the man. **■ And what of this cavalier ?" 
said Ippolito, pausing. *^' Nothing, Sig- 
ner, but that I should not like much to see 
him in this house — I do not think I should 
ever sleep in it again." '' Has the cava- 
lier the power of banishing sleep from 
the houses he visits ?" '' It is said, he 
never sleeps himself, Signor; he has other 
employments at night." '' What may 
those be ?" said Ippolito. " Pardon me, 
Signor, I dare not speak of him or them.'' 
He crossed himself with signs of strong 
fear. '* But I vvould wish you to be more 
circumstantial," said Ippolito, who readily 
comprehended whom he meant, and who 
wished to know the probable extent of his 
danger, and become familiar with its ter- 
roi-^j. '' 1 should wish to know him, 
should it be my chance to encounter 
him." " You will easily know him by 
yourself, Signor," said the man retiring, 
" he is just your stature and figure." 
This comparison suggested another idea 



to Ippolito — the stranger and he were 
exactly of the same stature ; he pressed 
his inquiries on the man, adding, '' It is 
of importance to me to be acquainted 
with the description of this person. I 
am in pursuit of one myself, w^hom per- 
haps it may assist me to discover." '' The 
person of whom you are in quest," said the 
peasant, who had not before spoken, *' is 
already gone before you, Signor; he is 
by this time at Bellano." Amazed at this 
intelligence so abruptly given, yet un- 
willing to expend time in inquiring how 
it was obtained, Ippolito hastily asked the 
distance and direction of Bellano. The 
peasant informed him, and Ippolito was 
hasting away, when a suspicion of this 
strange intelligence crossed his mind, 
and he waved his hand to the peasant to 
approach him. The man lingered with a 
reluctant air. Ippolito again signified 
his wish to speak with him, and the man 
advanced slowly and irresolutely. " From 



whom had you this intelligence ?*' said 
Ippolito. *' I do not know, Signer/* 
*' Hew — not know? Is it possible you 
could converse with a human being, and 
not know to whom you spoke ?'* *'I know 
not, if he were a human being/' said the 
man. '' What is it you say, what man- 
ner of man was he that spoke with you ? " 
^' Why do you ask ? 1 pray to the virgin 
I may never see either of you again — you 
know him well enough, I dare say he is 
beside you now, though no Christian eye 
can see him/* What insolence is this ; or 
is it phrensy rather ? Slave, do you know 
to whom you speak?" said Ippolito. 
*' Slave," repeated the man, with strong 
resentment, " 'tis you are a slave, and to 
the v/orst of masters ; I would not change 
with you, though this shed is my only 
dwelling, were you on a throne of gold. 
Poor, wretched, deluded creature, your 
grandeur is lent on hard conditions, and 
for a miserable moment of time ! I see 


326 FATAL revenge; or, 

even now melancholy appearing through 
those noble, beautiful features you have 
assumed. I wonder all those gold trap- 
pings do not blaze up in rows of suU 
phur^ while I talk to you. But I have 
discharged my conscience. I dare not 
say farewell to you ; but I trust to see 
you soon in the dungeons of the Inquisi- 
tion, and that is the best wish a good 
Catholic can give you." 

Ippolito, overpowered by the impas- 
sioned tones in which the man poured 
out his horror and aversion, and by his 
fears of more general and serious per- 
secutions, retreated without remonstrance^ 
and hastily took the road to Beilano. He 
understood too well the suspicious hints 
of the groom, and the open rage of the 

There is no country in the world where 
pursuits, such as Ippolito's, are observed 
with more jealousy, or abhorred with a 
more " perfect hatred,'' than in Italy. 




Ippolito saw all the horrors of his fate, 
and cursed his visionary imprudence too 
late. The innocence of his intentions, 
and his exemption even from the trans- 
gressions to which it might be supposed 
to lead, it was useless to avow to him- 
self; and who else would believe him ? 
To have sousfht the secrets of X\\c other 
world, as a diversity of levity; and to 
be conversant in them, without sacrificing 
our spiritual welfare, was what could not 
be easily, nor indeed probably believed. 
But all excuse or vindication was too 
late. Suspicion haunted his footsteps; 
the relentless vigilance of superstition 
had an eye on him for evil, and not for 
good. Once excited, her persecution 
was inexorable, and her rancour mor- 

His dark and secret trials were known ; 
and, instead of exciting compassion, and 
ensuring shelter and protection, they had 
only awakened hatred and fear. It was 



little consolation to him to reflect, that 
the conversations he had heard had pass- 
ed among the rustics of obscure vil- 
lages. The rage of the vulgar is more 
deadly and indiscriminating, less lia- 
ble to be pacified by representations^ 
less assailable by any medium of rational 
vindication, and more apt to vent itself 
in sanguinary violence, than that of the 
higher orders. Besides, the knowledge 
that had reached them must have been 
first diffused through every other rank in 

A dreadful feeling of abandonment 
and proscription began to overshadow 
his soul. The rudeness of the scene — 
rocks and waters seen in a cloudy twi- 
light—fed the dark tumult of his 
thoughts. As his consciousness of the 
hatred of mankind increased, a sense of 
hatred to mankind increased along with 
it. He wished, in the wildness of the 
hour, for some banditti, or mountaineer 



to cross his path, or rush from the hol- 
low of the rocks upon him ; his tall dark 
fi,G;ure, and wavin^^ sabre, like the pines 
which bowed their branches almost to 
his saddle-bow, as he passed them. He 
wished for some object of enmity, some 
struggle of violence, to exhaust the ea- 
ger beatings of his fury; to quench that 
aversion to mankind which he felt their 
persecution had already kindled in his 

Impatient of solitude^ he contended 
with nature and the elements ; he spur- 
red his horse to passes that seemed in- 
accessible ; he delighted to gallop up 
precipices, to ford streams, and to wind 
along the giddy and pointed ridge of 
rock, where the heron and the crane 
were first startled by the foot of man ; 
he pushed right against the blast when 
it blew with vehem.ence ; and held on his 
path where, for a mile, the foam of every 


550 FATAL revenge; or, 

returning wave of a lake beat against 
his horse's mane. 

It was now the close of evening, when 
he descried Bellano. A few scattered 
hutSj interspersed with larger buildings 
now in ruins, overspread the view to 
some distance. From what this desola- 
tion proceeded Ippolito could not dis- 
cover. The soil was fertile, though neg- 
lected ; but in the houses and their in- 
mates, there was an appearance of staring 
wild n ess, and of squalid dejection, such 
as he had never yet beheld. He look- 
ed around in vain for an inn, or any 
place where he might either procure re- 
pose for the night, or information on 
the object of his journey. 

As he passed slowly through the nar- 
row streets for the first time, he imagin- 
ed that the eye of all he saw was fixed 
on him; that his name and fortunes w^ere 
legii)le on his brow. Whatever know- 



ledge of him had been betrayed be- 
fore, was communicated in hints and 
\v'hispcrs ; was avowed with timidity, and 
murmured round till it was lost in the 
fears of the speakers. But now he seem- 
ed to feel that a general spirit of in- 
quisition had fastened on him ; that every 
one either pursued him with suspicion, 
or shrunk from him in terror. 

Wearied, dismayed, and disappointed, 
he struck into the skirts of the town. 
They were now dark and lonely. He 
flung the reins on the neck of his horse, 
and loitered on without object. At this 
moment, the figure of the stranger vi- 
sibly passed him. He paused a moment; 
and then, throwing himself off his horse, 
adjured him, with the most earnest and 
solemn supplications, to appear, and in- 
form him, in audible words, w^hy he was 
thus pursued and persecuted. Not a 
sound followed his adjurations; not a 
step crossed him. 


339 FATAL revenge; or. 

After following an imaginary track ft^r 
some time, he found his progress check- 
ed by a rising ground, on which btood 
a large edifice, dimly seen in the even- 
ing light. Its buildings, spreading over 
an extent of ground, presented a range 
of shadow, heavy, sombrous, and solitary. 
It bore no mark of habitation ; no smoke 
ascended from the roof; no step echoed 
round the walls. Ippolito gazed on it 
irresolutely ; yet with a strong impulse 
to enter it. It was certainly the point 
of termination to the direction he had 
pursued; and the direction was what the 
stranger, if he moved on earth, had pro- 
bably taken. 

At a little distance, he saw a peasant 
approaching, who seemed, like himself, 
to lino:er near the buildins:. There was 
a promising confidence and simplicity 
in his manner. Ippolito thought it best 
to preface his inquiries with some vague 
observations on the desolation around 



them. " Yes, Signer/' said the peasant, 
" something has happened to the place : 
I think it looks as if it were cursed."* 
'- But what has been the cause of the 
indigence and loneliness I see prevailing 
here, not only among these ruins, but 
among the inhabitants of the village?'* 
" They are wretched and oppressed^ Sig- 
nor. A strange suspicion hangs over this 
place. There is a horrible tale told of 
it. I do not like to relate the circum- 
stances, I have heard them related so dif- 
ferently ; but since they happened, the 
inhabitants of this place, which was then 
flourishinjr, have been scattered and de- 
solated." ** What are those circumstances 
so strange, that could depopulate a coun- 
try, and leave such marks of ruin beliind 
them ?'* said Ippolito, glad of the relief of 
local curiosity. ^' They relate,'' said the 
peasant, '' to a m.urder committed, or 
supposed to be committed, on a man who 
was entrusted with somp aiTair of ex- 

334 FATAL revenge; or^ 

traordinary import. The murderer was 
never discovered, nor his motives for the 
action even conjectured ; and however the 
circumstances are told by a hundred 
mouths, the wise seem to imply, none 
of them in fact ever transpired." " But 
is it possibk no steps were ever taken to 
trace this mysterious affair?" " I know 
not, Signor. There was a great, power-, 
ful, wicked family, said to be concern- 
ed in it. They had influence to cms 
all inquiry. No one that contended with 
that house ever prospered. They do not 
want power for outward means, nor vil- 
lainy for secret ones. So, whoever op- 
poses them fares like the inhabitants of 
Bellano." '' Was the whole village then 
implicated in this strange transaction?" 
'' They were punished as if they had 
been, Signor. Good night, Signor. I do not 
like lingering near the spot at this hour. 
This is the very house in which the deed 
was done.'' 



The peasant retired. Ippolito survey- 
ed the structure. He saw it was safe, 
from solitude and fear. In the village, 
wild and deserted as it seemed, he dread- 
ed discovery ; he dreaded the unknown 
effects of the stranger's machinations. 
Weary of persecution^ and impatient for 
gloomy quiet, he thought with pleasure 
of plunging into the recesses of a soli- 
tude, from which even superstition, that 
haunted him in every other retreat, would 
recoil with shuddering. 

Again he surveyed the building, and, 
ascending the rising ground, traversed 
the dismantled wall that enclosed it. It 
was spacious and ruinous. The dark 
lines of the building were strongly de- 
iined on the deep blue of a clear au- 
tumnal sky, in which the stars, faintly 
-emerging, tipt here and there a battle- 
ment, or a turret with silver. He found 
the principal doors fastened ; and, as he 
examined the wall more closely, to dis- 
5 cover 

336 FATAL hevence; or, 

cover some means of admission, he thought 
a figure started and disappeared in the same 
moment, from behind a projecting angle 
of the building. He pursued eagerly, but 
vainly. Yet as he turned away, some- 
thing like a sound issuing from the in- 
terior of the building, struck on his ear. 
He listened ; all was still. He now renew- 
ed his search, and soon discovered a low 
door, which required but little force to 
open, and which adftiitted him into a 
passage, lofty, and dimly lit. It conduct- 
ed him to the principal hall, from which 
doors and passages branched in every 
direction. All were alike dark and de- 
serted. No foot seemed to have trod 
there for many years ; and their long 
perspectives led the eye to a shadowy 
depth it feared to penetrate. 

As Ippolito gazed around him, a sha- 
dow, faint and undefined, passed along the 
other extremity of the hall. He would 
have looked on it as one of the imagi- 


nary shapes that seem to people the 
shades of obscurity ; but the next mo- 
ment he heard a sound too distinct to 
be the production of fantasy, that seem- 
ed to die away in distance. 

He sprang forward, and found himself 
at the foot of a spacious staircase, over 
whose broken steps the darkness made it 
difficult to proceed. As he ascended 
them, he loudly and repeatedly called on 
the person whom he imagined he had 
seen, assured him he had nothing to 
apprehend from violence or malignity ; 
that he w^as himself a lonely traveller, 
who was willing to unite with him for 
mutual security in that solitary mansion, 
and to whom it would therefore be more 
prudent to disclose himself. No answer 
was returned to his remonstrances; and 
he was checked in their repetition by the 
loud clapping of a door in a remote part 
of the building. That this dreary place had 
inhabitants, he had now no doubt. Who 

VOL. II. Q thev 

338 FATAL revenge; OR, 

they might be, or what was their purpose, 
he resolved to examine, with a boldness 
which was the offspring of desperation. 
He was del ghted with a summons that 
seemed equal to the powers of his mind, 
*nd did not threaten to taint him with 
guilt, or blast him with infamy. The 
stranger was not here to demand from 
him the energy of a hero, and then 
predict to him the fate of a villain. The 
event of this adventure might perhaps 
•exercise his imagination or task his cou- 
rage, but could scarcely affect his peace, 
his princijjlevS, or his character. 

He had now ascended the stairs, and 
paused for some moments in a gallery 
which seemed to commainicate with several 
chamb:r ; from one of them a light ap- 
peared to issue at intervals. Reentered it, 
and was surprised to see some embers of 
a wood fire, din ly burning on the hearth. 
From their blaze, which rose {Itfu'ly and 
expired, as the windhisscd through thedis- 



mantled casements, waving the feeble 
fire, he discovered an apartment like 
the rest, spacious and dreary. Not a ves- 
tige of furniture, or any circumstance 
but that of the fire, indicated the presence 
of a human being in the building; his eye 
wandered over walls, ceiling, and floor; 
not an object struck them, but the damp, 
misty obscurity of decay. The room was 
chill, he approached the fire ; the blaze 
became more strong, and by its increasing 
light, he discovered in the wall opposite 
him, a narrow grating ; the dusky bars 
gleamed in the fire-light, and, as he con- 
tinued to look on them, a human coun^ 
tenance appeared distinctly on the other 
side. Ippolito started ; he advanced to 
the grating ; the face disappeared^ and a 
piteous cry issued from within. Ippoli- 
to now earnestly demanded who was 
concealed in the apartment, threatening, 
with serious anger, to punish any one he 
might discover, unless they avowed them- 
Q 2 selves. 

340 FATAL revenge; or, 

selves^ and the causes of their conceal- 

The grating was then thrown open, 
and the servant by whom Ippolito had 
been so imprudently betrayed at Celano, 
threw himself at his feet. '' Oh, Signor,'' 
said he, after a long and unintelligible 
vindication of himself, " why did you 
leave me at Celano?" "Why did you 
compel me to do so by your folly, in ex- 
posing my name ?" said Ippolito. " It was 
not my fault, Signor — it was not ray fault ; 
I never travelled with a wizard before, and 
I could not know." '"A wizard, idiot! 
you will drive me mad." '' Illustrious 
Signor, I kiss your feet, be not angry with 
me in this dreadful, solitary place ! alas, 
1 have sufit red enough for it since; those 
devils at Celano were near tearing me to 
pieces, and when I escaped from them, 
I lost my way retui^ning to Naples, and 
after wandering about in this wild coun- 
try, dreading to make inquires, lest I 



should be discovered and sent to the In- 
quisition, I crawled in here to-night, to 
sleep in one of these waste rooms, and 
pursue my journey to morrow, and little 
thought I should have the ill luck (good 
fortune I mean), to behold you again/' 
'' But why," said Ippolito, '' did you fly 
from me on the stairs, you surely must 
have heard my voice, and when have its 
tones denounced danger to you ?" " I 
did not fiy," said the man, '* I was nor on 
the stairs/' '^ 'Tis but now I pursued spme 
one to this very apartment,'' said Ippolito. 
'' By all the holy saiats, I have not quitted 
the room since I entered the building," 
said the man. " This is most strange," said 
Ippolito, musing, " 1 am pursued by a 
power that seems to possess more than hu- 
man resources — resistance is vain ; I am 
spent in this struggle. But how was it 
possible you should conceal yourself, if 
you did not fly from me ?" '*' The door 
by which you entered, Signor, is under 


3i2 FATAL revenge; or, 

the windows of this room, and when I saw 
you, I concealed myself, and have not 
quitted this room since you entered the 
door below." ''And why did you con- 
ceal yourself?" said Ippolito, " to me, 
in the same circumstances, the sight of 
you or of any human being would have 
been most welcome." The man hesitated. 
" Why did you conceal yourself," re- 
peated Ippolito, " you kne^v• me, and 
knew that from me you had nothing to 
fear." '' I knew you indeed," said the 
man, shuddering, ''and therefore I hid 
myself. Ah, Signor, it is well known for 
what a purpose you seek these solitary 
places, and whom you are accustomed to 
meet in them; I thought the roof shook 
over rny liead as you came under it, 
lie crossed himself with the strongest 
marks of fear. " Mother of God," ex- 
claimed Ippolito in agony, " is it possi- 
ble ? Am I so utterly lost ? Do my own 
species tremble at mv own approach ? 



Hear me, my good fellow ; you who have 
lived with me, who hiiveknownme, who have 
been lavishly nurtured with every indul- 
gence a oreneroLis master could afford, can 
you believe the horrid tales that are told of 
me? I attest the blessed name I have just. 
mentioned, and every saint in heaven, that I 
am as innocent as you are. I have entered 
into no compact v;ith the enemy of souls; 
I am no dealer in witchery ; I am a crossed 
and care-haunted man ; a restless and un- 
happy spirit is within me ; it has driven- 
me from my home, and instead of being 
soothed and healed by the compassion of 
mankind, it is aggravated and maddened 
by the brutal rage of ignorance, till ex- 
istence has become loathsome to me." 

In the ardour of his appeal, Ippolito 
had laid his hand on the man's shoulder ; 
the man recoiled from his touch. Ippo- 
lito felt it in every nerve, and was again 
about to expostulate with him, when a 
strange hollow sound seemed to issue 



from a distance, and approach the room. 
" I will believe it, 1 do believe it all," said 
the man eagerly, " but say no more now 
Signer, this is no time or place for such 
subjects." '' Can this place have other in- 
habitants," said Ippo'Jo, pausing from 
his remonstrance to follow the sound. 
" Surely it has," said the man. ''Have you 
seen or heard any thing since you en- 
tered it, any shape or sound like this ?'^ 
*' 1 have indeed, Signor; just before you 
entered, the shadow of a dark figure passed 
the door, and 1 am convinced I afterwards 
heard heavy steps on the stairs ; but in 
these old mansions, the wind m.akes such 
strange noises, that unless one's eyes as- 
sure them -" 

Here the man's face underwent a convul- 
sion of terror, and flying on Ippoli to, he held 
him with the strong grasp of fear. '^ What 
have you seen," said Ippolito, supporting 
him, " or what is it you fear?" " A hand 
beckoned to me from that grating," said 



the man, in inward and struggling tones. 
" 'Tis this bickering blaze deceives you/' 
said Ippolito, stirring the embers with his 
sword^ and looking at the. grating ; '' the 
light it flings on these mouldy walls is so 
pale and fitfuL" " No, no, Signor, I 
know this place, and its history well; I 
marvel that its inhabitants have taken so 
little note of our intrusion yet; but they 
will not long neglect us/ ''You know 
this place is inhabited — and by whom ?" 
said Ippolito. "By the spirits of a mur- 
derer, and its punishers/' said the man, 
rolling his eyes fearfully around him. 
'' Why do you pause witli so many starts 
of fear," said Ippolito, " speak plainly, 
and fully what you have heard of this 
place, and of the cause of its desertion." 
" You know them perhaps, better than I 
do, Signor,'' said the man. '' How is it 
possible I should know them, it is scarce 
an hour since I entered these walls?" 
" Because they relate to your family.'* 
Q 5 " To 

^flG FATAL revenge; OR, 

" To my family ?" said Ippolito, as recol- 
lection faintly wandered over his mind ; 
then added in an evasive tone, '' there 
are many circumstances relating to my 
family, of which I am ignorant." *' Do 
you wish to hear what is told of this man- 
sion, Signor/' said the man, pursuing the 
?-uil)ject. ''If your courage is sufficiently 
recovered to relate it," said Ippolito, 
vvishing to suggest an excuse to him. 
The man proceeded in his narrative. 

'*Tt is someyears back, Signor, since this 
was an inn, and as the town was flourishing, 
and in good repute, I suppose the inn 
was so likewise. It so happened that this 
inn was full of company on a night, and 
they were all employed speaking of some 
strange mysterious business that was 
about to be disclosed shortly, that they 
said would involve one oHhe first families 
hi Naples ; I know not whether it was a 
monk, or an assassin that was to make the 
di:jc:overy ; but, whatever it was, the im-^ 



port of it was expected to be most singu- 
lar and terrible. So, as the guests ivere 
all conversing, and each giving his con- 
jectures and reasons, a person was usher- 
ed in, accompanied by a guard of sol- 
diers, not as a prisoner, but in order to 
defend him on his journey ; he spoke but 
little, and seemed dejected and terrified, 
like a man labourin<r under a CTeat se- 

It was immediately whispered about 
the house, that this was the person who 
was to make the discovery, and many in- 
quiries, and hints of advances were made, 
to learn what it might be; but the 
stranger was so distant, that, one by one^, 
the guests all dropped off to their own 
rooms, and left him to go to his about 
midnight. So he did — but never was seen, 
to return from it, Signor ; no trace of him 
was the next morning to be seen, nor 
ever since. 

The house was examined, the guests were • 


348 FATAL revenge; Oti, 

detained, the host and his family com- 
mitted to prison, from whence they never 
emerged. Then the fury of the law 
fastened on the town ; the wTetched in- 
habitants were sent, some to the Gallies, 
and some to the Inquisition, but no in- 
telligence of the stranger was ever pro- 
cured; but ever since that night, this 
place has been visited with strange ap- 
pearances. Tenant after tenant quitted 
the house; and at length it was desert- 
ed, and left to decay, as you see. The 
very last inhabitant told me, that as he 
v;as sittino^ one dark evenino- about the 
close of antumn, it might have been in 

this very room' "Hark ! hark !'' said 

Tppolito and his servant to each other at 
ihe same moment. 

A pause, deep and breathless, followed. 
^^ Did you hear a noise?" said Ippolito, 
in a suppressed tone. " I did, Signor; 

it resembled, methcnght" '' And I see 

a shape," said Ippolito, springing forward ; 



^' it glided past the door that moment ; 
I saw it with these eyes; I saw its sha- 
dow flitting along the gallery.'* 

He was rushing out. '' Holy saints!" 
cried the man, clinging round him^ 
*' you will not follow it/' " Away, 
dasturd !" said Tppolito, snatching a brand 
from the fire to excite a stronger light. 
** I shall die if I remain here alone," said 
the man. *' Then follow me/' snid Ippo- 
lito, who had already reached the stairs. 
He looked around. All was dark and 
stilly. The flaring and uneven light of 
the brand quivered in strange reflections 
on the walls. As he still looked down 
the gallery, the shadows ai i'dQ farther 
end seemed to embody themselves, and 
pourtray something like the ill-defined 
outlines of a human shape. He held 
up the light, and it vanished with visible 
motion. Ippolito impetuously pursued. 
The passage terminated at the foot of a 
narrow and spiral staircase. As he as- 

350 FATAL revenge; or, 

cended it, the echoes of another step 
"were heard distinctly above ; and some- 
thing like the brush of a vestment, float- 
ing between the shattered ballustrade, al- 
most extinguished the light. 

Encouraged, not repelled, Ippolito 
sprung upward with greater velocity, and 
soon reached the top of the staircase. 
A figure, strongly visible, but still ob- 
scwre, now appeared at some distance; 
and, waving to him with shadowy ges- 
ture, disappeared to the left without a 

At this moment, the last blaze of the 
brand quivered and expired. Ippolito 
stood lapped in uncertainty. A step 
from below approached. It was the ser- 
vant, who, binding two of the faggots 
together, advanced with a stronger light. 
" Come, quickly," said Ippolito ; " it dis- 
appeared here — here to the left.'* The 
man followed him, aghast and reluctant; 
but dreading solitude more than even the 



apparition they were pursuing, they 
entered a room, the only one to the left. 
The figure he beheld appeared to have 
vanished through the walls. Ippolito 
examined the wainscot and the case- 
ments ; the latter commanded a view so 
extensive, that he discovered the room 
was situated in one of the turrets of 
the building. All was silence and deso- 
lation still. 

" By what mysterious agency,'* said 
Ippolito, ^^ does this form hover over 
space, without being confined by it?" 
A sound, like the fall of some ponder- 
ous body — a sound that seemed to shake 
the walls, and sink into the depths of the 
earth, roused him from his musing. The 
concussion was so violent, that it flung 
open a low door in the wainscot, which 
had hitherto escaped his notice. 

Ippolito approached it. Within, he 
beheld an apartment, the extent of which 
was lost in shades, that were, for a mo- 

35^ FATAL revenge; on, 

m^nt, dispersed by a pale blue light tha 
fluttered over them, and then disappear- 

Ippolit^, taking the light from his 
servant., w ose countenance spoke the 
very despair of fear, entered the room. 
" This/' said he, as he waved the light 
ab >ve his head, th^t slowly broke through 
a gloom of frowning and peculiar black- 
ness, " tids should be the very seat of 
tho^^e marvellous operations. There is a 
depth of shadow, a majesty of night and 
horror here « — here I pause — that wan- 
dering shape relied here — here he will 
either return, or appear no more.'' " What 
is that dark mass in that corner?" said 
the servant, who had crept after him. 
Ippolito approached the spot he point- 
ed to, and discovered the remains of 
an antique bed. *' Make haste, Signor, 
and quit this apartment, the brand is 
almost extinguished," said the servant. 
*' You must go down and relight it ; I 



shall not quit this spot to-night," answered 
Ippolito. '' Go down — by myself 1 bless- 
ed Virgin ! no; not for the Pope in per- 
son/' said the man. " Did you not come 
up by yourself?" ''Aye, but, Signor, I 
was coming to you, I heard your steps, and 
thought of you the whole w^ay. But to 
go to an empty room, to feel every step 
I am iiettino- further from vou, and at 
length to venture into the very hold and 
haunt of other thinsfs than mvself! no, 
Signor, not if I were to get a Cardinal's 
hat for it.'* '' We must then remain in 
the dark till morning. I shall on no 
account quit this spot." '' Then, Sig- 
nor, I shall throw myself at your feet, 
and wrap my head in my cloak ; and, 
for the love of grace, speak no more 
till you tell me that morning has dawn- 
ed, and that you have seen nothing all 
night." " I subscribe to one of the con- 
ditions; the other, perhaps, it will not 
be in my power to observe." 


354 FATAL revenge; oh. 

The man threw himself at Ippolito's 
feet, who, glad of an opportunity of 
silent meditation^ leant against the wall^ 
fixing his eye on the dying flashes of 
the brand, which he liad placed in the 
hearth. Its broad glare danced on the 
ceiling, transforming the characters of 
damp and decay into forms as fantastic 
as the lines of magic, and now, shrunk 
into a point, scarce shewed the rude and 
blackened stones on which it was con- 
suming. In the veering light, Ippolito 
once thought he saw a form in a re- 
mote part of the chamber ; but the 
next moment it expired, leaving a thou- 
sand imagined shapes to darkness. 

At this moment, the servant, half- 
raising himself, whispered, " Signor, 
I hear a person breathing near me.'' 
" You hear 7n^ respiration probably," 
said Ippolito. *' No, Signor, no ; it is 
the breath of one who breathes with 
difficulty, as if he were trying to sup- 


press it — there — there — it passed me 
now — blessed saints, how near ! Signor^ 
if I live., I felt the rushing of a garment 
past me that moment." " Hush/' said 
Ippolito; '' you will not let me distin- 
guish if any one is in motion near us." 
They both paused some time. Not a 
sound w^as heard. *' I am stifled hold- 
ing in my breath/' said the man. '' You 
may draw it in peace,'* said Ippolito ; 
no one seems inclined to molest us ; and 
if there should, against visionary assail- 
ants I have innocence^ and against cor- 
poreal ones, a sword." 

He spake the latter sentence aloud ; for 
the objects he had witnessed were such 
as human power could easily produce ; 
and he endeavoured to resist his strong- 
propensity to search for supernatural 
powers in every object above ordinary 
life. In a short time, the servant forgot 
his fears in sleep ; and Ippolito, exhaust- 
ed by recent fatigue, slumbered, as he 

, leant 

356 FATAL revence; or, 

leant against the wainscot. The visions 
of his sleep were like the spirits whose 
agitation had produced them^ wild and 

He dreamt he was kneeling at the al- 
tar of a churchy which was illuminated for 
a midnight mass. Around or near him^ he 
saw no one either to partake or administer 
the right. At lengthy a figure advanced 
from the recesses of the altar, and ap- 
proached him ; at the same moment, he 
perceived his father and brother kneeling 
beside. A deep stillness spread over him 
as he gazed around ; he experienced that 
sensation so common in sleep — the con- 
sciousness of some mystery we are un- 
able to penetrate ; but of which we si- 
lently expect the developem> nt. The 
figure distributed the consecrated ele- 
ment, liis father, on swallowing it, shriek- 
ed " poison,'' in a tone of horror, and 
fell back expiring. At that moment, the 
figure, throwing off his monkish weeds, 



discovered the person of the stranger, ar- 
rayed in a voluptuous and martial habit. 

He gazed with a fixed eye of horrid 
triumph, on the contorsions of the dying 
man, bent over him to catch his 
groans ; and, as his dim eyes wandered in 
agony, presented himself in every point 
to their view, exclaiming, " Behold." 
The vision suddenly changed its scene 
and circumstances — Ippolito found him- 
self in a vaulted passage, lit by a few se- 
pulchral lamps ; Annibal was beside h'm, 
and the stranger bearing a torch, and in 
the habit of a funereal mourner^ stalked 
before them. 

As Ippolito slowly seemed to recover 
his powers of observation, he perceived 
he was in a part of the castle of Muralto, 
he remen-bered to have traversed before. 
The btranger, waving them fo follow, en- 
tered an apartment hung with the insignia 
of death ; he remembered it well- it was 
the last of the chambers that commur.i- 



cated with the tower so long shut up. In 
the centre of the room, stood a bier, co- 
vered with a pall : the stranger withdrew 
it, and pointed to Annibal and Ippolito, 
the corse of their father beneath. Ippo- 
lito, retailing his natural impetuosity in 
sleep, ^natchcd the torch from the stranger, 
and arid it ever the countenance of the 
dead; th- y were fixed in a kind of vi- 
sional y sleep. As he still gazed, the lips 
began to move ; and at length uttered 
some woidi of extraordinary import, which 
Ippr.iito vainly tried to recollect when he 
awoke. As he still gazed, the body ex- 
tend, d one h-ind to him, and another to 
Anuibal, stiz d on both, and drawing them 
under the pail, !apt them in total dark- 
ness. He Siuidd- red and awoke. 

The light had long expired; it was suc- 
ceeded by moorilight, dimly breaking 
thrcijgh tiie discoloured windows, and 
figuring the floor with the rude imagery 
of theii casement work. 


He looked around him to dissipate the 
forms that still flitted before h*s eyes; o.i 
a part of the floor, where the light iell 
strongly, he observed a dark spot he had 
not beheld before, whose shadows by their 
depth seemed to fall within the floor. lie 
approached it, and perceived a chasm of 
which he could not discover the depth. 
He examined it with his sword, and 
found there was a descent by steps with- 
in ; he tried to follow them, but found 
their depth extended beyond his utmost 
reach. Here he paused for a moment, 
but his resolution was soon taken to des- 
cend and explore it. 

There appeared to be something de- 
signed to tempt and to baffle him in the 
circumstances he had witnessed, that tempt- 
ed his courage as strongly as his imagina- 
tion ; they were circumstances beside^ 
such as human power and contrivance 
could easily produce, and such as human 
fortitude could easily cope with. The 
2 jealousy 


jealousy of imposition operated more 
powerfully on his high-toned mind, than 
even his appetency for the marvellous ; 
and of the latter too^ there was a lurking- 
impulse that expedited his resolution. 

His servant still slept, and Ippolito 
wished not to disturb him, as he would 
be equally clamorous at either alternative 
of accompanying him into the vault, or 
of remaining in solitude ; his sleep would 
probably continue till the morning, and 
at morning he might depart in peace. 
He therefore commended himself to all 
the saints, and began to descend the steps. 
They were winding and irregular. He 
soon lost the faint reflections of moon- 
lio^ht, and for a few moments advanced in 
tot d darkness. He paused, for to advance 
in darkness, was to encounter superflu- 
ous danger, when a flash of sudden light 
from below played on the dank, black 
walls, and shewed him the rugged steps 
winding downward to a depth it was 



giddy to think of. The paleness and 
flitting disappearance of the light, indi- 
cated the distance from which it issued ; 
but as Ippolito, encouraged by this dubi- 
ous omen, eagerly proceeded, frequent 
flashes of a stronsrer lio^ht convinced him 
it was stationary, and that he was ap- 
proaching it. He advanced ; the light in- 
creased ; it seemed the faint gleam of a 
lamp struggling with darkness. In a few 
moments he perceived it glimmering at 
a determinate distance, and sending up 
long streams of abrupt light on the upper 
darkness. A few steps more brought him 
to a level ; he entered a vaulted passage 
low and black, hoary and chill with 
damps; at the entrance of it a lamp burnt 
feebly. He disengaged it from the wall 
with difficulty, (it was iron, of coarse and 
ancient structure), and proceeded with 
it slowly, extending his sword before him. 
In the deep blackness of the perspective^ 
no object near or remote could be de- 
voL. II. R scried 


scried ; the air seemed almost materially 
thick and dark. A dim atmosphere of 
bluish light spread round the edges of 
the flame Ippolito carried, which shivered 
almost to dissolution, though he advanced 
with the most cautious slowness^, dreading 
lest its extinction should leave him wan- 
dering for ever in darkness, or its motion 
should kindle the foul and pent-up va- 
pours to a flame of which the explosion 
would be fatal. As he glided onwards a 
sound, he paused to distinguish, came to 
his ear. He listened — it was a human 
groan ; it was repeated ; it was like the 
expression of mental anguish, more than 
of bodily ; it seemed to issue from an im- 
mense distance. Ippolito called aloud in 
accents of encouragement; the sounds 
ceased. As he turned in the direction 
from which they had proceeded, his foot 
struck against something which he stoop- 
ed to examine ; it was a rosary and'cruci- 




fix of wood, they were corroded by damp^ 
but their shape was yet distinguishable. 

As he examined it with that disposition 
which desires to look for proof in casual 
things, another light twinkled like a star 
in the passage beyond him, and a figure 
dimly defined, appeared and vanished with 
the swiftness of a shadow. Ippolito with 
alternate cries of menace and intreaty, 
adjured it to pause, or to approach. It 
hovered for a moment on the remote edge 
of darkness, as if doubtful whether to 
obey him or not ; but as he hastened for- 
ward to urge his importunity, it disap- 
peared. Its motion was so evidently hu- 
man, that Ippolito felt inspirited with a 
hope of success as he pursued it, till his 
progress was suddenly entangled by 
something that lay on the ground. Im- 
patiently he endeavoured to remove it 
with his hand — it was a heap of dusky and 
decayed garments, of which the shape 
was indistinguishable. As he threw it from 
R 2 him 

364 FATAL revenge; or, 

him, the clank of a human bone rung 
against the vault. 

He was now irresistibly checked, and 
holding down his lamp, tried to discover 
whether any memorials of horror were 
near him that might be avoided in his 
progress. Shuddering, he perceived the 
remains of a human skeleton scattered to 
some distance around him ; the skull 
had dropped from the garment that was 
entangled round his steps. As he gazed 
around unwilling to linger, and unable to 
depart, the lamp darted a bright and ta- 
pering flame upward, and then sinking 
down, quivered as if about to expire. 

For a moment he believed the fluctua- 
tion of the light was owing to an influence 
connected with the object before him 
but on looking upward, he discovered ai 
aperture of which his eye could not mea- 
sure the height, in the roof of the vaultj 
through which the air rushing had almost 
extinguished the lamp. Comparing thij 



circumstance with the spectacle before 
liim, he immediately conjectured that thi^ 
unfortunate person had been precipitated 
through the chasm, and dashed piecemeal 
by the fall^ as the bones were scattered at 
various distances. 

All thought of further pursuit was for a 
moment repelled ; and in the interval, as 
Ippolito was withdr?iwing his eyes with the 
slowness of fascination from the object 
before him^ the other light appeared ap- 
proaching from a distance. Through the 
thick vapours of the vault, Ippolito could 
scarcely discover that it was supported by 
any visible hand; but as it approached, 
he perceived it was the stranger who bore 
it ! He had no time to collect his facul- 
ties ; the stranger was already beside him. 
They viewed each other for some time 
without speaking a word, while the lights 
they held reflected to each, the vi- 
sage of the other as pale and fixed as that 
of the dead. At length, '' Wherefore are 


566' FATAL rkvekge; or, 

you here ?'* said the stranger. Wherefore 
am I here ?" repeated Ippolito. '' Is that a 
question ? What other shelter have you 
left me ? Where can I fly without perse- 
cution and danger ? I have been torn 
fi'om life, and from society, from the ob- 
jects and occupations that are congenial 
to my age, my spirit, and my fortunes. I 
have been banished the presence and the 
sympathy of my own species ; I hear no- 
thing around me but the hiss of suspicion, 
or the mutterings of hatred. You have 
written a character of horror on my 
brow, that my own menials read and fly 
from. You have poured a poisonous at- 
mosphere around me, that blasts and wi- 
hers the feelings of every human being 
that approaches it. In the whirlwind of 
your pestilent progress you have rent me 
from my own soil and station, and flung me 
on a bare and isolated precipice, where 
I stand the sport of every storm, shiver- 
ing at my own desolation. You have 



done this, and dare you ask me why I 
follow you even here ? Why I pursue 
you to the very verge of being, to ask 
you for myself?" *' You do well," said 
the stranger, " to harbour amid such 
scenes as these, to such your fate is about 
to lead you ; and you are right to habi- 
tuate yourself to them ; you are in your 
proper abode. Child of despair, I greet you 
well. Do you see these walls ? Such shall 
soon be enclosing you ; what the object 
at your feet is now, such you shall shortly 
be." ^'^Away with this horrible jargon," 
cried Ippolito, '^ 1 will be duped by it 
no more. I have grovelled under you, till 
I am weary of suffering and submission. 
These struggles are not of despair, but resist- 
ance ; I have fled, not to shun, but to pur- 
sue. Mysterious and inscrutable tormen- 
tor, I have too long been your vassal; 
your power was illusive and imaginary — it 
was borrowed from mi/ u eakness; my vi- 
sionary folly arrayed you in the attri- 

'3GS FATAL revenge; ORj 

biites of imagined terror, but it can strip 
and mock 5^011 for its sport. Mi/ triumph 
shall have its turn now. I will change in 
a moment the parts my abject folly as- 
signed us; you shall fly, and I will become 
the pursuer now. Yes — I will haunt 
you as you have haunted me. I will pro- 
claim you to the vulgar — to children I will 
proclaim you ; your shadowy movements, 
your mysterious dignity shall be the tale 
of beldames. Horror shall be dispelled by 
familiarity, and contempt shall mock at 
the detected imposture. I will pursue 
you with an army of persecution, male- 
diction, and ridicule — the horror of the 
Airtuous, the hatred of the vulgar, the jea- 
lous fury of superstition, and the awful 
resentment of justice. You shall find 
what it is to drive a soul to despair. I will 
pursue you from place to place; I will 
chase and scatter you over the earth; on 
no part of its surface shall you rest; at no 
depth below it shall you be safe. Human 



power shall urge you to the limits of this 
world, and the vengeance of religion 
shall pursue you to the next Ha ! ha ! 
what an ideot have I been. Yes ! 'tis 
a glorious thought — to be revenged of 
you ; to dash your sceptre of iron, your 
scourge of scorpions, from your hand, 
and to wield them against you ; to de- 
liver myself; to deliver the world ; to 
do a service to heaven. Methinks I 
breathe a new element. Tlie ground on 
which I tread bears me up since I have 
conceived the thought. The very acti- 
vity of motion, the energy of pursuit will 
be congenial to my nature, and a relief to 
my spirits.'' 

The stranger listened without resent- 
ment, and paused long before he an- 
swered. '' Unhappy boy ! you grapple 
with a chain of adamant. You mav run 
to its utmost extent, but what will that 
avail you ? 1 hold it in my hand. I 
have measured its length, and numbered 
R 5 every 

370 FATAL revenge; or, 

every link. If you were capable of rea- 
son, would you not perceive that this 
restlessness of mind, this appetite for 
vehement struggle and rapid pursuit, 
is but the oppressive sense of unaccom- 
plished destiny. You feel that you have a 
task, of which you imagine inventing an- 
other will destroy the remembrance and 
the responsibility. You are approaching 
a precipice with silent but gradual swift- 
ness ; and you imagine that short devia- 
tions, and momentary sallies, will alter 
the direction, or intercept the fall. Do 
you not already perceive your power of 
resistance diminishing ? Do you not per- 
ceive your excursions are shorter, and 
your progress more perceptible. Re- 
collect, when to mention this subject, 
was only to excite a torrent of rage and 
malediction. Now you can definitely 
talk of its enormity ; and the next step 
will be to consider that enormity as 
modified and palliated, till you contem- 


plate it with horror no longer. Recollect, 
that when the former thouo^ht of it tino;ed 
your dreamSj you would awaken with the 
force of horrible conceit, and practise 
every expedient of childish fear to sleep 
no more that night. You dreamed of it 
to-night, yet no waking consciousness of 
horror broke through your slumbers ; no 
cold dew gathered on your brow ; your 
teeth did not gnash, nor your limbs 
heave and quiver; your waking was the 
effect of accident — of an extraordinary 
accident. Recollect (and acknowledge 
the power that reads your heart) that 
your intended persecution of me is 
prompted by an irresistible desire to dis- 
cover the motives which prompted my 
suggestion of the action ; the means that 
would have been applied to its accom- 
plishment; nay, its very form and cir- 
cumstance, all horrible as they are. Such 
is the purpose with which you would 
pursue me ; and how absurd to depre- 
2 cate 

372 FATAL revenge; or, 

cate the contemplation of what it is the 
burning and inward thirst of your soul 
to satiate itself with the knowledge ! 
What we desire, from curiosity or fear, 
to contemplate, we will soon be habi- 
tuated to; and what we are habituated 
to, soon ceases to be revolting. Thus 
you impose on yourself by the very 
means you take to avoid imposition. 
Your flight from evil is circular, and 
brings you to the very point from which 
you copmenced it. The impulse, upon 
whose tide you float so triumphantly, is 
ebbing in its pride, and will bear you 
back to a depth and distance greater 
than even that you have emerged 

'^Mother of God!" said Ippolito, '' I 
see I am lost." He staggered and gasp- 
ed. '' Human force cannot contend with 
this enemy. You are something which 
thought is unable to reach. You blend 
the familiarity of human temptation with 
I the 


the dark strength of the fiend. 1 am 
weak and cannot contend ; I am weary, 
and amazed, and all strength has failed 
me. Had I the power of an angel in 
my arm or my brain, what would it 
avail ? I stand before him naked and 
helpless as infancy. I think, and he tells 
me my thoughts. I deliberate, and he 
anticipates my resolution. I move, and 
my motions are measured and bounded, 
1 fly, and my flight is overtaken and ar- 
rested. Night cannot veil, nor the bowels 
of the earth hide me. I look upward, and 
the shadow of his hand is over me. I 
look downward, and I am thrown before 
his retC' 

He mused in the stupor of horror, and 
muraiured inwardly, " If the great blow 
to which I am urged, could deliver me 
from this ; if it could be struck, and all 
this terrible siege he lays to my soul, 
cease with it — would it not be well ?" 

A f5ark 

374 FATAL revenge; or^ 

A dark smile passed over the stranger's 
face, ^s the last words were spoken. Ip- 
polito burst into rage again, as he noted 

'' Devil, I see your triumph. You 
think I am parleying with guilt ; you 
think you see the balance held with a 
trembling hand ; you hope that despair 
has driven nature from her hold, and 
fixed her black banner in the very centre 
of her works. No; your infernal wis- 
dom has deceived you. You are deep 
in the mysteries of iniquity ; but your 
knowledge becomes foolishness when it 
has to deal with a human heart. You 
might as well predict the tossings of an 
earthquake as the struggles of a high- 
principled soul goaded to phrensy. I. am 
indeed strongly beset. The enemy has 
had power over me, such as is seldom 
given him over man. These thoughts are 
often with me. My powers are shaken 
• by 


by a thousand impulses to evil. But 
hitherto I think I feel my actual abhor- 
rence of guilt is undiminished. I think 
so. If I admit the thought of it more fre- 
quently and patiently, 'tis not because 

I am reconciled to it ; but because 

no matter ; it is better not to think of 
the cause. I am sure I shall be upheld 
— I trust so ; yet I am dark and lorn. 
Evil is gathering round me like night, 
night unbroken by a single ray of light. 
I would willingly cleave to nature and 
to my fellow-men. I would call to them 
for comfort ; I would lay hold on their 
hands for help ; but they reject and ab- 
hor me. This is one of the fiend's 
subtlest devices; this is the very pith 
of his dark power. Yet still I am not 
cast down. I stand, though sore shaken. 
Yet, Oh ! when shall I be able to curse 
him, and bid him depart ?" 

*' There is no need. I am gone ; but 
what will that avail you ? The power you 



dread and deprerate is within you, where 
its gradual workings shall lead you to 
the very act for whose mention you curse 
and proscribe me. I attest night and 
this vault, the witness of untold things ; 
I attest these mouldering bones, and this 
dagger, on whose blade the gore you 
shed is yet visible — three months shall 
not elapse, till you do the deed, whose 
visioned horrors were disclosed to you 
in the chambers of our secrecy. My 
task is now finished, and my office has 
ceased. When next you behold me it 
shall be in another form, not to predict 
your fate, but to witness it/* 

As he said these words, with the 
solemn sadness of human feeling, he 
slowly retreated. The unhappy young- 
man was stung to madness. For a mo- 
ment all was mist and cloud around him. 
When he raised his eye again, the stran- 
ger was scarce visible in the dark distance. 
With a cry of despair, Ippolito rushed 



after him. In a moment he was at the 
extremity of the passage. Here several 
others branched off, losing themselves in 
the darkness. In none of them could the 
stranger be traced by sight or sound. 
The very light he bore had disappeared. 
It was impossible that, in a few moments, 
he could have traversed passages of such 
length. But Ippolito had long since 
ceased to judge of him by the measure 
of man, and now plunged into the pas- 
sage immediately opposite him with the 
blindness of desperation. No object was 
visible, as he glided along, but the hoary 
and frowning arches of the vault ; no 
sound was heard but the echoes of his 
steps, half-heard in the thick, damp 

He had proceeded with a rapidity that 
left him no time to think of the distance 
he had traversed, till he was checked by 
actual weariness, and then perceived, for 
the first time, that of these winding 


37S FATAL revenge; OR:, 

passages there seemed to be no end. 
His mind was in too tumultuous a state 
to recognise this circumstance, further 
than as it was connected with the length 
or difficulty of the pursuit. He was like 
a man, who, waking from a fearful dream, 
seems still to hold conference with forms 
of fantasy, peoples darkness and vacan- 
cy with shadowy crowds ; and is scarce 
recalled to the objects of life, by disco- 
vering that all around him is solitary and 
silent. It was this deep stillness, this in- 
terminable darkness, that first checked 
Ippolito in his pursuit. The stranger, 
his appearance, and his words, seemed 
to him as a vision, a shadowy imagery, 
that floated on the vapours of the vault. 
That he could have disappeared thus 
suddenly and entirely, was a contradic- 
tion to his actual presence; and Ip- 
polito, almost distrusting his senses, be- 
gan slowly to look round him to disco- 


ver some means of extrication from this 
maze of passages. 

From the moment he looked around 
him with this object^ the length and 
darkness of the vault became intolerable. 
He would have been delighted to dis- 
cover the slightest change in his pro- 
gress ; he w^ould have been delighted to 
observe the walls more rugged ajid frac- 
tured, or the ground more uneven. 

At length, the objects around began 
evidently to assume a different aspect. 
Large masses of stone, rude and dark, 
projected from the walls and roof, as if 
they would crush the passenger. Around 
some of them Ippolito observed dusky 
and stunted weeds were entwined ; and 
once he thought a pale reflection wan- 
dered through a chasm over his head, 
as if light was stealing on him from the 
world above. Still his progress appear- 
ed endless. 



He now walked on with steady swift- 
ness, not admitting the suggestions of 
the hour and place to overshadow his 
mind, or benumb his exertions. Mov- 
ing, with the rapidity of one who was 
approaching a definite object, while his eye 
vainly hung on the darkness to discover 
one, sometimes stung with an impulse to 
return, he would pause till the perplexity 
of the passages wildered his brain in the 
eflTort to retrace them. Thus he passed 
on, dreading to look behind, and scarce- 
ly hoping, as he looked onward. In 
this state of mind, he suddenly found 
his progress checked by a wall that ter- 
minated the passage. Neither door nor 
window was perceptible in it. He ex- 
amined it with his lamp, and at length 
discovered a grating that, almost decay- 
ed with rust, ran for a considerable length 
in the wall, parallel to the ground. From 
its form and direction, Ippolito conjec- 


tured it had been a part of a door, 
that was now inclosed in the wall. 

Here was something like a means of 
escape, though in other circumstances, it 
would rather have resembled an obstruc- 
tion ; but Ippolito, with his natural im- 
petuosity, believed that nothing could re- 
sist his strength, stimulated by danger, 
and already felt himself liberated from 
this dungeon of famine and darkness. As 
he laid down his lamp, for the purpose 
of examining the bars, he perceived 
through them a light so faint and remote, 
that he almost believed it a star. Ashe 
gazed on it, it became more distinct, 
and he at length perceived it was a light 
in motion, though by whom it was borne, 
or through v;hat space, it was impossible 
to discover^ As it flung a tremulous and 
misty gleam through the thick air, he 
could see after some time, a flight of steps 
at a vast distance, that w^ound beyond 
the sight, and of which partial fragments 



FATAL revenge; OR, 

appeared through chasms at a still greater, 
feebly tinted with the moving rays of 
the light. And now as it advanced down 
the steps, he could see it was borne by a 
tall, dark figure, who preceded another 
still more obscure, bearing in his arms 
something that was enveloped in white. 
They descended from a vast height at the 
extremity of a vault, over whose extent 
the torch as it approached, threw a tran- 
sient flash without exploring it. As the 
vast masses of shadow varied with the 
motion of the torch, Ippolito thought he 
could discover objects that resembled the 
fuyiiture of a place of sepulture scat- 
tered around the vault before him ; but 
the light w^as too faint and partial to give 
them distinctness. The figures at the 
other extremity had now descended the 
steps, and entered the vault. One of 
them laid down his burthen for the pur- 
pose of adjusting it, and while the other 
held up the torch to assist him, the strong 



light that fell on his visage, discovered 
the stranger ! The other was in the ha- 
bit of a monk. 

He resumed his burthen^ and was pro- 
ceeding with it when the stranger pro- 
ducing a dagger^ fastened it in the monk's 
girdle, pointing with appropriate gesture 
to the object in white, and giving him 
the torch he bore, retired up the steps, 
where Ippolito could see his dark figure 
gliding past the chasms, through which 
they wound, and sometimes bending from 
them, as if to mark the motions of his 
agent below. 

By what means this mysterious being 
was present in every scene of horror, and 
active in every purpose of mischief, ( for 
such the present appeared) filled Ippolito 
with new wonder. He seemed to glide 
from place to place, like the very genius of 
evil, with a dark suggestion for every 
mind, and a dagger for every heart. 

The monk proceeded with slow steps 


384 FATAL rkvenge; or, 

across the vault, till he was nearly under 
the grating where Ippolito stood. The 
paleness of guilt and of fear was in his face. 
As he held the torch low, to direct his 
steps over the broken pavement, Ippolito 
could distinguish it was strewed with the 
memorials of the dead. He stopped 
where the ground was recently disturbed, 
and a stone appeared half raised from it ; 
and seating himself, while the torch burn- 
ed on the ground, withdrew the covering 
from the burthen in his* arms — Ippolito 
discovered a female form, folded in a 
shroud, whose relaxed limbs and pallid 
face resembled those of a corse. The 
monk looked around, though not a sound 
was near, and then unsheathing the dag- 
ger, surveyed it wildly. 

Ippolito no longer doubted that the ob- 
ject in the shroud was living, though it 
seemed determined she should be so no 
longer. The monk now raising his hand 
tremulously, and half averting his face, 




seemed to wind himself up to the blow. 
Ippolito, in an agony of rage and hoiTor, 
struggled with the barrier between them, 
^nd uttered a cry so terrible in the con- 
flictj that the assassin, dropping the dag- 
ger, remained petrified with fear ; his fix- 
ed and strong eyes not daring to seek the 
direction from whence the sound had is- 

Ippolito grappled with the iron in a 
phrensy of rage ; bar after bar, loosened by 
age, and shaken with supernatural force, 
gave way. The stones in which they were 
fixed yielded along with them, till an aper- 
ture was formed, through which Ippolito 
forced himself, and leaping downward a de- 
scent of which he did not feel the depth, 
burst in to the cemetery. The monk, whether 
in the confusion of his fear, or determin- 
ed to effect his purpose before Ippolito 
could descend, had struck at the female 
with his dagger, but with a hand so un- 
certain, that it scarce rased the skin ; he 
VOL. II. s then 



then fled, bearing with him the torch, 
which however he extinguished in his 
flight, and fled up the stairs, his dark gar- 
ments fluttering through the apertures 

Ippolito supported the lady in his 
arms, he perceived that she breathed. 
The feelings that her beauty might have 
inspired, were repelled by her helpless- 
ness and her danger, and Ippolito bent 
over her with solicitude merely fraternal. 
To escape from the cemetery, was the 
first object of safety; but to do this it 
was necessary to wake his companion, and 
procure some information from her ; for 
he had no knowledge of the place, or of 
the direction to which the steps might 
lead. All attempt however to v/ake her 
was in vain. '' This is not the sleep of 
nature,'' said Ippolito, '' some pernicious 
means have been employed to reduce her 
•to this state." He looked around him 
in consternation ; the steps at the other 



extremity of the vault, appeared the only 
mode by which he could escape from it ; 
the rest were buried in shapeless dark- 
ness. The lamp which he had left in the 
place from whence he had descended, 
threw a faint and shadowy light from 
above, which threatened every momenf 
to expire- There was no time to ba- 
lance means and expedients. He raised 
the lady in his arms, and pursuing the 
direction the monk had taken, began to 
ascend the steps. He looked around in 
vain for direction or assistance ; the steps 
were broken and irregular, and but for 
the dim light that still issued from the 
lamp at the other extremity of the vaults 
had been utterly dark. 

Ippolito knew not whither they led; it 
might be into the very centre of dan- 
ger — but no choice of directions was left 
him, no other means of flight from the 
cemetery were visible. As he still as- 
cended, wondering at his own safety, he 
s 2 could 

388 FATAL revenge; or, 

could distinctly hear the steps of the as- 
sassin retreating before him, of which the 
sound was sometimes lost in the echo of 
doors closing, and in the rush of wind 
that accompanied their opening. The 
light that still burned in the vault, was 
now too remote to afford him assistance ; 
he saw it but at intervals, as it twinkled 
through the chasms; but above him, a 
light almost as faint issued through an 
opening. Several steps were yet to be 
surmounted ; he collected his declining 
strength, and with one vigorous bound 
reached the summit of them. 

Pausing for breath, he now looked up- 
ward ; the light issued through a trap-door 
in the roof, which the monk in his flight 
had neo^lected to close. Part of his habit 
which still cluno: to it from the stru<2:orle 
of his fears in effecting his esca})e, as- 
sisted Ippolito to ascend through it with 
the only arm. he had at liberty, the other 
supported his still insensible burthen. 



On emerging from it, he looked around 
him — he was in a cloistered passage, that 
appeared to belong to some ecclesiastical 
building. Through the windows, dim 
and few, a faint moonlight was poured 
on the checquered floor, the clustering 
pillars, and the pointed arches of the roof. 
Far to the left, Ippolito thought he could 
still distinguish the dark figure of the 
monk as he flitted alono- though his 
Steps were no longer audible; and still 
further a gleam as of distant lamps, trem- 
bled through the obscurity, warning Ip- 
polito to shun the direction, where, a? 
there were probably inhabitants, there 
was danger. With only this conjecture 
to direct him, he immediately turned to 
the right. The passage terminated in a 
door, feebly secured ; but as Ippolito 
laid down the lady to force back the 
bolts, he looked behind him with an eye 
of wonder, to mark was there no sound 
of pursuit or of danger following them. 


390 FATAL revenge; ORj 

Exhausted as his strength was, he found 
some difficulty in removing the fasten^ 
ings of the door ; it opened on a cover- 
ed walk, through whose pillars, that still 
bore the form of cloisters, he beheld a 
garden on which the moonshine flung its 
rich and tremulous flood light. On Ippoli- 
to, panting from the vapours of a dungeon 
and torches, no object could have had 
such sudden power of refreshment and 
renovation, as the beams of the moon, 
and the breezes of night. 

As he supported his companion, he per- 
ceived with delight, that the current of the 
air had recalled her spirits; she spoke 
not, but her limbs heaved, and her eyes 
unclosed, though without a ray of intel- 
ligence. As he now hastened with her 
through the vaulted walk, he distinguish- 
ed all the features of the building to 
which the passages were attached. The 
high tufts of pine, and larch, and cypress 
concealed the lower parts of the fabric ; 



but above them he could see the row of 
small convential windows, with the antic 
carvings of the battlements above '^ at 
their extremity^ the great staircase win- 
dow, stained with a thousand colours, that 
gave their rich, romantic tingings to the 
moon-beams, and the trees that waved 
around it ; beyond, features still more 
characteristic of the structure appeared ; 
the niched and figured walls, the angles 
of the buildings surmounted with crosses 
of grey marble, and further still the 
spire of the convent rich with the fantas^ 
tic profusion of gothic embellishment. 

As he still gazed, though he hastened 
onward, he could see tapers gleaming in 
different parts of the building ; and once 
he thought he beheld a figure passing 
among the shade at the opposite extre- 
mity of the garden. The walk which he 
had traversed, by this time, terminated in 
a portico, whose light pillars were con- 
nected by trellis-work, and mantled over 


392 FATAL REVEKGfi; 01?, 

with luxuriant shrubs ; he crossed it, and 
beheld before him an aperture in the 
garden wall, whose fragments lay scat- 
tered around^ through which he beheld 
the open country in all the magic of 
moonlight. He darted through it with 
an impulse w^hich annihilated weari- 
ness and fear^ and found himself on a 
rising ground, whose gradual slope, skirt- 
ed with tufts of arbutus and magnolia, led 
to the brink of a stream, whose waters re- 
flected the turrets of the convent. Ippolito 
hastened to the bank, and depositing his 
unconscious charge beside it, sprinkled 
her with water, and unfolded her vesture 
to the air. 

While she slowly recovered her intel- 
ligence and speech, Ippolito gazed on her 
form, lovely even in the semblance cf 
death. Her long, dark hair that fell over 
her face and bosom, like the foliage of the 
cypress over a monumental marble, in- 
formed him she was not a religious ; yet 



the building from which he had borne 
her, was evidently a convent. Her first 
emotions on recovery, which were terror 
and surprise, as Ippolito had expected, he 
endeavoured to calm, by the most respect- 
ful assurances, of safety and protection, de- 
livered in a tone so humble and soothing, 
as inspired her with a confidence her 
strange circumstances opposed in vain. 
When at length her perceptions became 
clear, and her language collected, ippo- 
lito supplicated her to inform him by \M\\2i 
means she had been invoHed in a situa- 
tion so strange, as that from which he had 
rescued her ; of which, however, he 
took care to suppress the circumstances 
he judged too terrifying to be repeated 
to her. 

At the mention of the cemetery and 
the convent, the lady shuddered, and, appa- 
rently too much agitated to answer hio 
inquiries, fell at his feet, and v/ith a tor- 
rent of tear^, avowed her innocence and 


3S)4 FATAL revenge; or, 

her helplessness, and implored him to 
protect her from the horrors prepared 
for her by the persecutions of mysterious 
enmity, leagued with the oppressions of 
religious cruelty. 

Her appeal was made in a language 
now little understood — the language of 
chivalry ; of which no other ever pos- 
sessed the power, when addressed by a 
beautiful and helpless woman, to a young 
man, noble and brave. Even at that 
period, this language was much disused ; 
and though Ippolito felt its energy in 
every fibre of his heart, yet he could 
easily observe, that the manners and con- 
ceptions of the lady were utterly remote 
from those of ordinary life. He raised, 
and assured her, with impressive fervency, 
that while he possessed a weapon or an 
arm to wield it, no power should molest 
her; that he would defend her with the 
zeal of a lover, and protect her with the 
purity of a brother. 

1 He 


He then, while he conducted her along 
the bank of the stream, casting around 
his eyes in quest of some means of 
escape, of safety, or concealment, again 
implored her to explain the circum- 
stances that had led to his discovering 

The lady shrunk from the familiarity 
of a conference. Her timidity faltered 
in every accent, and shivered in every 
limb. She scarce accepted the assistance 
necessary to support her steps, and in 
vain endeavoured to raise her eyes to 
his, and discover if they confirmed the 
confidence his words inspired. 

" I ought to trust you," said she; 
'* nay, I must trust you; for I am des- 
titute and defenceless; but if you are 
indeed a cavalier of honour, as your de- 
meanour and voice bespeak, conduct 
me to some matron-relative, some female 
protector ; and, till then, pity and for- 
give ihe fears of one, timid by nature, 



and by habit ; fears that scarce give me 
breath to thank you for my life/' 

Ippolito was distracted by this appeal, 
which he could neither answer nor re- 
sist. " Lady/' said he, " I am wretch- 
ed to afford you protection so imperfect. 
I am a wanderer myself, and all the safe- 
ty I can promise you is borrowed from 
your innocence, and my own courage, 
i am, like you, a lorn and luckless being, 
without friend to appeal to, or assistance 
to claim/' 

The lady was again in tears as he 
spake ; but they seemed excited by a 
cause different from that which her last 
had flowed from. '^ It is his voice/' said 
she, with impressive emotion ; '' it is his 
very language. Are all men unhappy ? 
or are the brave and noble only perse- 
cuted ? Y( u, cavalier, are but the se- 
cond i hav. ever seen, yet your language 
is exactly like hiSf whom I would I had 
never, never seen." " And why, Sig- 



nora;'' said Ippolito, "is he unfortunate ?" 
" He said so/' '' What is his name?" 
'* He told me never to disclose it, but 
that it was noble. I know but little my- 
self of ranks or titles. Are you noble, 
cavalier ?' '' There are few names more 
illustrious in Italy than that of Mon- 
torio/' said Ippolito, forgetting his habi- 
tual caution in the pride of the moment. 
" Montorio !" shrieked the lady, in the 
wildest tones of joy : " Oh, then, I am 
safe. I must be safe with you. He is 
a Montorio too ; and, though he is un- 
fortunate, he is the brav^est, the noblest, 
the loveliest" — '' What, what is his name ?'* 
said Ippolito, eagerly. " His name is 
Annibal." " Annibal ! how came he 
here? He was at the castle of Muralto. 
Where is he now ? Wherefore did he 
come, and where has he gone to?" "I 
know not," said the lady, mournfully; 
" but he is gone where I never shall see 



him more. They who separated us will 
never permit us to behold each other 
again. Oh, that I knew where he was. 
I think, I almost think I could fly to 
him." "Lady, all you utter is mysiery ; 
but there is, I fear, no time for any thing 
but consulting our safety ; if, indeed, 
there remain enough for that. The 
moon is setting ; and I see tapers glid- 
ing about at the windows of the con- 
vent.'* " And hark, by that chime the 
bell will toll for matins in an hour. 
They chaunt their matins an hour be- 
fore sun-rise. I see the vigil-lamp burn- 
ing in Mother Monica's turret. Oh, Sig- 
nor, where, or how shall we fly ?'* 

To discover this, Ippolito debated, if 
tumultuous anxiety can be called debate, 
in vain. His horse he had left behind him 
at Bellano, to which he knew not even 
the direction. Of the country into which 
he had emerged, after a subterrene pas- 


sage, he could not be supposed to know 
any thing; and his companion, though 
a resident in it, was equally ignorant. 
All she could inform him was, that she 
had heard in the convent, Puzzoli 
was at no great distance from it. This, 
though contrary to Ippolito's topical 
conjectures, gave him, nevertheless, some 
definite object to pursue, though it sup» 
plied no means of attaining it. 

As they wandered along the bank in 
quest of some track that communicated 
with that they intended to pursue, they 
descried a small boat, that was moored 
in a thick bed of rushes and watery weeds, 
and fluctuated lightly on the tide of the 
stream. ^' This is fortunate V exclaim- 
ed Ippolito ; " we shall be safer from dis- 
covery on the water, and shall probably 
reach some obscure fishing-hut in the 
windings of the river, where it will be 
easy to procure assistance without sus- 
picion or delay." 

400 FATAL revenge; or. 

The lady's reluctance to venture in a 
bark that had only one oar to navigate 
it, was overcome by her more immediate 
fears; for at that moment a sound was 
heard, which, she believed, was that of 
pursuit, issuing from the convent. Ip- 
polito, who thought otherwise, concealed 
what he thought, lest the aggravated ter- 
rors of his companion should render her 
unable to proceed. They hastened thro' 
the willows and osiers that hung over the 
bank against which the bark was beating ; 
but, as Ippolito was reaching for the oar, 
his companion called to him to observe an 
extraordinary appearance in the trees 
which suddenly seemed to bend to- 
wards the river, and then retire aoajn, 
while their branches quivered with a 
strange vibration. Ippolito looked up 
for the confirmation of his fears, and, 
at the same moment, the convent bells 
rung out a quick and terrible peal, and 
its spire and turrets rocked with a motion 
perceptible in the reflection of the water. 



The lady, screaming with horror, clung 
to Ippolito, who, combining in the mo- 
ment, calm reflection with the fullest 
sense of danger, assured her they would 
be safer on the water. 

As she yet hesitated in the distraction 
of fear, Ippolito sprung into the boat, 
and, extending his arms, implored her to 
embark while yet the ground supported 
her ; but, as she attempted to follow him, 
the stream suddenly receding, flowed 
backward to its source v/ith such rapi- 
dity, that Ippolito, when he recovered 
his sight, no longer knew the banks 
between which it was flowing. Around 
him all seemed in motion ; the shrubs, 
the trees, the rocks, gliding past him 
with the undulating swiftness of a fluid ; 
while, before him, the tide on which he 
floated, separating from that below it, 
left the bed of the river, black and bare, 
heaving up, as if the waters from be- 
neath were rushing upward, with wreath- 

402 FATAL kevenge; or, 

ed heaps of foam, that sparkled to the 
meteorous and misty sights with which 
the air was filled. 

Amid the tumultuous sounds of mis- 
chief and terror, that now arose on 
every side, he listened with feeling agony 
for the voice of the unfortunate female, 
from whom he had been severed; but 
all power of discrimination was lost in 
another agitation of the river, which 
rushed into its former current with a 
velocity that left every known object 
behind it. 

As he was borne along, Ippolito could 
see the turrets of the convent, of which 
he knew not whether the rent and totter- 
ing appearance was owing to the vibra- 
tion of the air, or to the real injury they 
had sustained; but no vestige of his 
companion remained. The ground on 
which he had stood appeared to be con- 
verted into a marsh, in which were only 
seen the up-turned roots of the willows 



and osiers, nodding where their branches 
had waved a moment before. 

The confusion was now general. Amid 
the concussion of rocks, the crash of 
buildings, and the hollow and tumultuous 
rushing of the earth, Ippolito couldidis- 
tinguish a thousand piercing tones of 
human distress, more terrible than all; 
the objects from which they issued, he 
was spared the sight of; but every mur- 
mur of inarticulate terror, was associated 
with the images of social or individual 
calamity in his imagination. He was still 
borne on with irresistible rapidity, till a 
third concussion checked the current 
with a shock so violent, that Ippolito was 
obliged to grasp the stern of the boat for 
safety. The stream moved to and fro with 
uncertain undulation, while a deep mur- 
mur trembled beneath its waters, and ed- 
dying whirls of a blackish hue boiled upon 
the surface, spirting out globes of foam 
and sand, and bodies from the river's bed, 



all sunk and subsided. The river resumed 
its natural course and level ; and the slen- 
der bark glided on in safety between the 
banks where solid and firm-seated sub- 
stances had changed their places and forms 
with the levity of the atoms dancing in the 
wind. Ippolito now employing the oar, na- 
vigated his boat with all the dexterity in his 
power, but such still was the fluctuation 
of the river, that he found himself unable 
to make either shore ; the current still 
bearing the boat onward with a force he 
found it fruitless to contend with. 

In spite of the recent and dreadful 
commotion he had witnessed, Ippolito 
found it impossible to withdraw his feel- 
ings from his own situation, so strange 
and forlorn. Of all who contended with 
the terrors of the elements, who had so 
little to fear from danger ? for who had 
so little in life to hope or to pursue as 
he? The rived earth, and the heaving 
flood had swallowed many a being that 



nighty whose dying thoughts clung to life 
with the energy of hope^ and the /ondness 
of desire; while they had spared one, who 
would willingly have sheltered his head 
from the dark conflict that beset it, in the 
gloomiest grave their chasms presented. 

The inextinguishable persecution of 
the stranger, the jealous malignity of so- 
ciety, the gloomy presages of an irresist- 
ible fatality, and that mistrust of our own 
power; that sinking of soul which antici- 
pates the issue of long and sore temptati- 
on, began to settle over his mind, making 
it night within him. He had fled from Na- 
ples to avoid the presence of his myste- 
rious tempter, he had met him in the so- 
litude of deserts : he had pursued him, and 
found him again in circumstances, of 
which no conjecture could furnish an 
explanation; they wxre separated again; 
but where might he not appear as sud- 
denly as in the vaults at Bellano, 
or the cemetery of the convent ? Dis- 

406 PATAL revenge; or, 

tance of space, or strangeness of hour, 
were no obstruction to him; he might 
emerge after a subterranean journey, at 
Puzzoli, or appear again at Naples. But 
one expedient presented itself, the same 
which under similar circumstances had 
been suggested to Annibal, that of flying 
to another country. To abide the fixed 
and regular assaults of the stranger, was 
not tolerable even to thought, as its con- 
tinuance would not only expose him to 
aggravated suspicion and danger, but 
to the greater mischief of familiarized 
gUilt, at which he shuddered, for he had 
already begun to feel its influence. 

The morning now began to pour a 
pale light through mist and fog on the 
landscape, and Ippolito looked back on 
the events of the night, as on the busi- 
ness of years. That a few hours only had 
passed since his arrival at Bellano the 
preceding evening; and that into those 
few hours, so many circumstances should 



have been compressed, almost exceeded 
the belief of reflection. As objects be- 
came stronger in the strengthening light, 
he discovered that the ravages of the late 
shock had been partial, and almost con- 
fined to that part of the country he had 
quitted ; all around him seemed tranquil 
nd uninjured. At a distance he beheld 
along the banks, the huts of fishermen, 
scarce peering from among the tufts of 
the thick embowering trees, that love a 
watery soil, and here and there the sails 
of their early barks flitting on the distant 
waves, like the pinions of the white fowl 
that skim their surface. 

He now endeavoured to moor his boat 
on the shore opposite to that he had em- 
barked from*; and at length, though des- 
titute of any skill in the use of the oar, 
succeeded. He debarked near a small 
cluster of huts, where he procured the ne- 
cessary information with regard to the 
distance of Puzzoli, from whence he re- 


solved immediately to return to Naples ; 
and there make the necessary arrange- 
ments for passing into France. He had 
some faint idea of communicating his pro- 
ject to his brother Annibal, who seemed 
like himself, the thrall of a wayward fate ; 
but of whose wanderings he knew no- 
thing, except that he was no longer at the 
castle of Muralto. 

While in this hamlet, a horse was 
procured for him with much difficulty. 
His soiled, though splendid dress, and 
his mingled air of grandeur and dis- 
traction, excited a curiosity, which he 
was compelled to appease by a plaus- 
ible fabrication. As he endeavoured to 
utter this wdth fluency, a sting of anguish 
and proud shame darted through his whole 
frame : he remembered the stranger's 
prediction of his gradual immersion into 
vice and falsehood, and cursed the power 
that rendered an habitual violation of 
truth, a part of his existence. 

A thousand times in the bold move- 


nicnts of an open heai% he was about 
to avow the truth, till he recollected 
that it might be attended with many- 
evils, but not one advantage; and that 
in his present progress, it was less ne- 
cessary to consult his heart, than his 
safety. He was informed when, to repel 
inquiries, he began to inquire himself, 
that the concussion of the earth the pre- 
ceding night, had been felt but partially ; 
that the river had undergone some extra- 
ordinary fluctuations ; but that they were 
in daily terror of some great shock, such as 
those they had lately experienced, usually 
precede ; and that they had understood 
Vesuvius had been unusually turbulent 
for some tirne. " And these are the 
omens of my return," said Ippolito, as he 
set out for Puzzoli. 

The day was now advanced, and he pur- 
sued his way with the guarded and vigi- 
lant firmness of a man who is prepared 
for danger and interruption. He looked 

VOL. II. '^ around 


around with an eye, which habitual fear 
had fixed in sternness, for the form of the 
stranger, or some other portentous shape 
to rush across his path, or glide dimly be- 
fore him. His spirits seemed collected 
for their last effort ; their energies were 
patient and stern, prepared to resist with- 
out violence, or to submit without despe- 
ration. Bodily weariness combined with ex- 
hausted solicitude, to produce that deep 
and unbreathing stillness of soul, in which 
the acting powers are not extinct, but 
in repose. It was that frame into which 
every mind sinks after violent struggles 
and repeated defeats, and which usual- 
ly precedes the last conflict it is able 
TO support — it was that frame of which the 
force is indeed great, but the continuance 
doubtful ; and the defeat, if there be one, 
total and decisive. It is too simple and 
absolute for variety of expedients, or re- 
newal of contest; its impulse is single 
and collected; if it fail, it fails with- 
1 out 


out hope, and without effort — it was that 
frame, in which he whose intent was to 
deceive, would be least willing to encoun- 
ter his victim. It resists the visions of 
imagination, it questions even the repre- 
sentations of the senses ; but its gloom 
is a balance for its strength and capacity ; 
it doubts, it resists, but it despairs. 

No object occurred in the way to Puz- 
zoli ; those that presented themselves on 
his approach to the city, were in unison 
with his jnind. It is a magnificent the- 
atre of ruins. Antiquity has impressed 
her bold, gigantic charactery on their re- 
mains ; she seems to sit among them like 
a sovereign, at whose feet distant agfes 
and departed nations pour the tribute of 
their former greatness in their tombs, 
their temples, and their palaces. They 
lie scattered as around her footstool, in 
confused tints and shapeless grandeur. 
The great Domitian-way filled him with 
awe as he entered it ; he felt the interests 
T 2 that 

412 FATAL revenge; OR, 

that agitated him, disappear like the vicis- 
situde of the life of an ephemeron, at 
the bare thought of the myriads that had 
trodden that way since its erection, with 
thoughts as tempestuous as his own, who 
had passed away without leaving a trace 
in the history of mankind. 

The temple of Jupiter Serapis, and 
the ruins scattered around it, detained him 
till the heat of the day becoming intense, 
and operating with his sleepless and event- 
ful night, of which he had only dozed a 
few moments in the turret-chamber 
at Eellano, he eagerly turned t;o the 
first inn the street presented, and after a 
slight refreshment, threw himself on the 
bed, and endeavoured to repair his strength 
for future encounters. 

Cn awaking, he found evening had 
arrived ; and a secret and half unconsci- 
ous dreed of returning to Naples, induced 
him to determine the remaining]: for that 
night at Puzzoli. He wished besides to 



discover whether the suspicions enter- 
tained of him were universal ; if there 
was no place where he could appear in 
safety and innocence ; whether the po- 
lished and enlightened habits of a city, 
might not promise him protection from 
that superstitious malevolence, to which 
he had been exposed in the more remote 
and savage parts of the country. He arose 
therefore^ and went out, but with dejec- 
tion in his countenance, and distrust in his 
heart. His eyes wandered vacantly over 
the many objects of curiosity nndd:light 
that encountered them ; but hung with 
supplicating and intense solicitude on 
every human visage that passed him. 

In an Italian city, the great church and 
its avenues are usually the places of 
principal resort. As Ippolito slowly, and 
^ with agitation ill-concealed, passed through 
one of those, two persons of ordinar}^ 
appearance followed him at a distance 
he judged suspicious, till he observed 



they were conversing on indifferent sub- 
jects. " 'Tis true/' said one of them, 
" so extraordinary a circumstance has ne- 
ver occurred within the walls ofPuzzoli ; I 
could not have been persuaded of it, had 1 
not witnessed it. It outdoes all the mi- 
racles ever performed within the vcalls of 
church or convent — it is a few steps from 
the confessional, in the principal aisle, 
and just beneath the window which bears 
the blazonry of the Mirolo family." The 
other assented to the singularity of the 
circumstance, and added, that he con- 
cluded no stranger could quitPuzzoli with- 
out visiting the great church, and behold- 
ing with his own eyes, so remarkable an 

Ippolito, easily excited by the men- 
tion of the marvellous, and glad of the 
relief which an object of curiosity pro- 
mised, repaired immediately to the great 
church. The antiquity and vastness of 
this awful structure scarce arrested his 



Step as he entered it; he passed on to 
the principal aide, and discovered a 
group collected round the spot the per- 
son had described. A boding of some 
dreadj disastrous thing ; some evil unmea- 
sured and unexplored, darkly hovered in 
his mind as he approached them. He 
resisted its effects with the feeling of a 
man, who conscious that something ter- 
rible is approaching him, and determined 
to meet and encQUnter it. rt^xeives the 
intimation of evil as an appropriate and 
natural presage, and is confirmed, not re- 
pelled by it. 

As he advanced, he observed they were 
gazing in different points of view on an 
inscription ill the wall, of which the cha- 
racters seemed to have been traced ia 
blood. The group gave way as he drew 
near; he raised his eyes — the characters 
were large and legible. Pie beheld with 
horror the very lines which were in- 
scribed over the portal of the subterrene 


416 FATAL revenge; or, 

chamber at Naples^ which tJien surrounded 
with more terrible imagery, he had scarce 
noticed ; but of which he nozv recog- 
nised every impression with a tenacity 
that appeared to have slumbered in his 
mind till that moment. AH caution, all 
power, of reflection forsook him at once. 
It seemed as if the lines were visible in 
iheir real character to him alone — to him 
alone it seemed as if they were charactered 
with lightning that seared his eyes. In 
the excess of ungovernable horror, he 
turned around, and fiercely demanded, 
'* Who had done this, by whose means it 
hid been placed there ?'* The spectators 
stared aghast, till one of much suavity 
of address advanced, and inquired what 
had discomposed him. Ippolito in the 
hoarse and breathless tones of passion, 
repeated the question. *' That inscrip- 
tion," said the stranger, " has not been 
lately placed there." '' It must have 
been," said Ippolito in the vvildness of his 



emotions, " it is but lately that I beheld 
it in another place myself. Every move- 
ment around me seems to be conducted 
by witchcraft — how may this have been ?" 
*' Your knowledge of the place where you 
last saw, or imagined you saw it/' said the 
stranger, gravely, " may assist you to form 
a probable conjecture on the movements 
that brought it there, without doubt." 

Half recalled by this speech, yet 
still confused and distracted by this 
unexpected witness of his secrets, Ippo- 
lito m.ade an imperfect apology for his 
vehemence, and added, " That the sight 
of circumstances so extrar)rdinary had 
disturbed him." '' They are indeed ex- 
traordinary,'' said the stranger. *' Are 
you then acquainted with them .?" said 
Ippolito relapsing, and staring w^ildly at 
him. " Am I known even here }" The 
circumstances relating to yonder inscnp- 
tion are undoubtedly extraordinary," ;^:iid 
the stranger, ''but how far you are in- 
T 5 terested 


terested in them, 1 cannot presume to 
say." '' I implore you to relate them," 
said Ippoiito, " heed not me^, or my in- 
terruptions ; I am a wild, unhappy be- 
ing ; I am feverish from fatigue of body 
and mind; heed not what I may say, or 
how I may look as you repeat them. I 
am innocent— in spite of those damning 
characters, I am innocent. The stranger 
half shrinking from his wild, appealing 
glances, proceeded in his account. 

" This cathedral church, Signor, is of 
high antiquity, and frequently memorials 
of the classic ages, and perhaps of others 
more remote have been found within its 
walls. The inscription before you," (the 
stranger need not have referred to it, for 
Ippolito w^as unable to remove his eye 
j^'om it>); '' is of such remote antiquity, 
that it is supposed it was originally graven 
on the stone before the building was 
erected, as there is no tradition of its re- 
cording any event since that period ; it 



is therefore concluded to have been a 
fragment of ancient stone, accidentally 
employed in the first construction of the 
church. There have been many conjec- 
tures on the subject of its meaning, but 
it is unfortunately in a language which 
the literati of Europe are utterly unable 
to recognise. The words you see are 
barbarous^ though the characters are 
Greek. The most probable conjecture I 
have yet heard^ is founded on the two 
last words;, kots, omphets. Ancient au- 
thors have acknowledged that these words 
were employed in the Eleusinian myste- 
ries ; they have also admitted that they 
were words barbarous and unintelligible 
to those that used them, but were sup- 
posed to have some secret reference to the 
mysterious purposes of that institution. 
Is it not probable therefore that the whole 
inscription is the admonitory formula of 
the mysteries of which the words were ad- 
mitted to be foreign ; but of which the 


4:50 FATAL revenge; or, 

characters would in transcription be pro- 
bably Greek, as those before us are ? but 
while the learned had their conjectures, 
the superstitious had theirs also. There 
was a tradition connected with these cha- 
racters, that whenever the fate of a dis- 
tinguished family in Naples was approach- 
ing, the wall of the aisle of the great 
church at Puzzoli would weep blood. 
This was repeated from age to age with 
the partial wonder of imperfect credulity, 
till lately, when a circumstance occurred 
that revived its recollection. 

It was about a month past that a 
stranger, tall and closely muffled in a dark 
habit, arrived in Puzzoli, and immedi- 
ately repaired to the great church. It was 
the time of vespers : the stranger planted 
himself opposite this inscription. The 
congregation assembled, vespers were per- 
formed, the congregation dispersed, the 
stranger stood unmoved ! " ( The speak- 
er, during his narrative, kept his eye in- 



tently fixed on Ippolito). ''It was the 
vigil of St. John the lesser ; the service 
and offices were renewed every hour of 
the night, and mass was performed at 
midnight. Numbers of ecclesiastics came 
from other churches to assist, and the 
faithful were passing and repassing at the 
different hours of service the whole night, 
sothat probably every inhabitant in Puzzoli 
had successively the opportunity of seeing 
this extraordinar)^ person, who remained 
in one posture, silent and motionless the 
whole night, gazing on the inscription. 
Towards matin service, one of the lay- 
brothers going to extinguish the lamps 
which burned dimly in the dawning light, 
observed as he passed through the aisle, 
that the stranger had departed ; and as he 
proceeded to replace the tapers which 
were nearly extinguished at the shrine 
yonder, he suddenly was heard to give a 
cry of horror, and exclaim, That the 
wall of the aisle was weeping blood I Se- 

422 FATAL revenge; or, 

veral monks hastened to the spot. Whe- 
ther they confirmed the lay-brother's re- 
port, I do not presume to say, but it is 
certain, that ever since that period, those 
characters which were before of the co- 
lour of the stone, have retained the ap- 
pearance of blood. 

" Such are the circumstances, Signor, 
which you must acknowledge to be suf- 
ficiently extraordinary." '' Pardon me," 
said Ippolito, with a sudden and unnatu* 
ral mildness of tone, " nothing to me ap- 
pears extraordinary." ^' You must then 
be convcnant with such circumstances,' 
said the stranger. '^ Perfectly conver- 
sant — oh, there is no telling how familiar 
I am with them 1" said Ippolito, with a 
frightful laugh. " You will then gratify 
me by some conjectures on this singular 
subject," said the stranger. "It is more 
than conjecture," said Ippolito, answering 
his own thoughts. " Have you any idea 
of having seen the extraordinary person- 

THE familV of montorio. 423 

age I have described, before/' continued 
the stranger. Ippolito was silent. ''Can. 
you form a conjecture where he is at pre- 
sent/' pursued the wily stranger. " He is 
here,'' answered Ippolito^ in a tone that 
transfixed him. " Here/' repeated he, 
trembling, and looking around. '' Yes, 
here/' replied Ippolito, with eyes still 
fixed on the inscription — '' see him/* he 
murmured, " yes, I see him always ; I see 
him now, I hear him ; blindness cannot 
shut him out — I have lost myself, but I 
cannot lose him." 

The stranger who had at first raised his 
eyes in wonder at Ippolito's unqualified 
confessions, now examining his counte- 
nance, beheld it fixed in the fiery stare 
of madness. Improving this appearance, 
according to his own conceptions, into 
demoniacal possession, he retreated with 
the precipitation of fear, unnoticed by 
the wretched young man, who was utterly 


424 FATAL revenge; or, 

careless of the construction put upon the 
expression of his misery. 

He continued for some time gazing va- 
cantly on the wall, and at length sunk 
against it, in helpless stupefaction ; but 
it was a stupefaction merely of the senses. 
The operations of his mind were active 
and acute ; he counted every drop of the 
tempest that was poured out upon him ; 
as the lightning blazed around him, he 
seemed to dissect its fires with a prism, 
to concentrate its burnings, and measure 
their aggravated fury. 

The prediction which he applied to his 
family, whose peace and honor would be 
for ever blasted by the deed he was tempt- 
ed to perform. The appearance of the 
stranger (for he had but one archetype in 
his mind, for all beings of mysterious ap- 
pearance and agency) and the obvious, 
though inscrutable connexion between 
the characters on the wall, and those he 
had seen in the vaults of the scene of blood 



at Naples, rushed on his mind with a force 
condensed and complicated, and for a 
a while swept away all powder of resist- 

lie hung over them with his mental 
powers benumbed and impassive. He saw 
them as it w^ere with a mental eye glazed 
and opaque, that can suffer a body to 
touch its very organ without feeling it- 
The intellectual frame, shocked by vio- 
lence, had folded up its fine texture, and 
no further assault could compel it to a 
capacity of suffering. Real and proper 
absence of reason succeeded ; substan- 
tial forms faded from before his eyes. He 
thought the persecuting stranger was again 
beside him forcing into his hands a dagger, 
which he endeavoured to refuse. The 
stranger, with a terrible smile, desisted, 
then retreating a step, held up the dagger, 
and pointing to the bloody drops which 
stifled it, w^aved it over his head. The dead 
and crusted blood dissolved as he moved 

426 FATAI, REVENGE ; Olt^ 

it, and dropt slowly on his face and 
hands ; I;e shuddered in vision, and strug- 
gled to wake to free himself from the 
terrible imagery. He aw^oke and felt it 
still ; he started — looked around ; his 
hands were bedropt with blood ; he touch- 
it — it was warm, it flowed from his tem- 
ples, which as he fell against the wall, 
had been wounded by the pediment of 
a tpmb, an/2 TiGw streamed with blood, un- 
felt. He wiped it aWay without a groan, 
ar*d quittirig the church, hasted back to 
his apartment at the inn. 

Here he strode about for some time in 
agony of thought. The persecution that 
hunted him, was aggravated tenfold by 
his personal feelings and character : too 
noble minded for the bare admission of 
a criminal thought, and too impetuous for 
the slightest restraint on his actions or 
movements, he saw himself invested by 
the most noxious characters of a crimi- 
nal, and circumscribed in every motion 



by his inexhaustible pursuer. He had 
contended, and his struggles had only 
wearied himself: he had fled, and his 
flight had been measured and accompa- 
nied ; he had endeavoured to retire from 
the conflict in silence, and he had been 
rouzed again to phrensy, by fresh in- 
stances of the presence of his impassable 
tormentor. To sit down in sullen des- 
pair, was equally hopeless. His pursuer 
was not content ^ynTl negative malevo- 
lence, he contended with him when he 
resisted, he excited and goaded him, when 
he was passive, he followed him in his 
motions, and he was present with him 
when he was at rest. There is no thought 
more overwhelming than this ; it disarms 
the soul of every power of resistance, 
yet leaves it nothing to hope from sub- 
mission. •' Oh, that he were human !'* 
Ippolito exclaimed, in the bitterness of 
his soul, '^ that he were an assassin, and I 
a lone and naked traveller in the depth of 

a moun- 


428 FATAL revenge; ok> 

a mountain-forest ; that he were an in- 
quisitor, and I a prisoner in his grated 
and airless dungeon ; that he were an 
earthly tyrant, and I the meanest of his 
slaves who had incensed him, and stood 
before him, surrounded by the ministers 
of torture; then I could measure the 
power I had to contend with, and pre- 
pare my own for resistance ; then I could 
know exactly to what they could extend, 
and where they nUist terminate. I could 
image to myself that point where ex- 
hausted cruelty could not compel an- 
other groan ; where nature would mock at 
the impotence of power. Oh, that he 
were even of an order of beings above me, 
whose powers could be recognised and 
limited ; then I might know how far 
Lis commission to punish might reach, 
and insult him with its imbecility. De- 
finite misery cannot be intolerable to an 
immortal being. Though he pursued me 
with the rage of the dragon, I would yet 



know that the key of his pit was kept by 
an angel ; though his commission were 
to last a thousand years, that thousand 
years would be to me, but as yesterday. 
But how can I contend with an inaccess- 
ible enemy, whose power is undefined, 
and whose duration is unimaginable ? I 
know not yet if he be man or demon. 
His goadings and suggestions drive me 
to phrensy ; to resist them is becoming 
impossible, and to obey them, is to devote 
myself to destruction, body and soul.** 

The echo of his loud and agitated 
voice at this moment coming to his ear, 
he suppressed it ; and at the interval, he 
thought he heard voices whispering at 
his door; he stopt, and listi:ned ; for fear 
had made him suspicious of trifles. A 
voice then articulated, '* This must be his 
apartment — that was his voice.*' After a 
moment's pause, another whispered, " He 
is silent now — did vou mark his words .'^** 
Several other sentences were uttered in 


430 FATAL revenge; OHj 

suppressed tones, and he then heard step* 
retiring through the passage that led to 
his room. 

He hastened to the window, and saw 
three persons of ordinary habits pass into 
the street. It was a dusky evening in the 
close of autumn ; he could neither distin*- 
guish their persons nor their faces. He 
was recaiied from his conjectures, by the 
voice of his host, who passing near the 
door exclaimed, *' I cannot conceive who 
they are, unless they may be ministers of 
the Inquisition ? St. lago be my protec- 
tor. The sight of them makes me trem- 
ble from head to foot." He then passed 
into a hall adjacent to Ippolito's room, 
where others were apparently assembled^ 
and eagerly repeated his suspicions anc^, 
his fears to them. 

The whole company were in commo- 
tion. The name of the Inquisition operated 
like that of pestilence or the sword 
amongst them. " Alas," said the host, 

'' what 


*' what have I done, that they should ho- 
nour me with this visit ?" " Perhaps this 
visit is meant to some of your guests/' 
said a strange voice, '' do you know who is 
at present under your roof." " You are 
the only stranger/' said the host, '' and 
you, Signor, look too like one of them- 
selves, to be in any dread of their visit." 
'^ Are you sure of this?" said the other 
voice, " Is there no stranger under your 
roof but me?" "Santo Patrone," said 
the host, " sure enough there is a strange 
cavalier in the house ; but he has re- 
mained in his chamber since he entered 
it, and I had quite forgotten him/' " Has 
he remained alone ? — that appears sus- 
picious ; you should observe him/' " Ob- 
serve him ! not for the world ; I would 
not take the full of this room of gold ; 
and watch a heretic, a criminal of the In-, 
quisition ! How do I know but the '^ry 
sight of him would make me ;i<j bad as 
himself?'* To this wise observation the 


43:2 FATAL kevenge; on, 

other assented^ apparently with a view of 
aggravating the fears of the simple host, 
which were now extreme and oppressive. 
*^ Alas," said he, '' what an age is this for 
good catholics to keep inns in ! It was 
but lately, an inn-keeper at Celano, as 
innocent as myself, lodged a cavalier, 
from Naples,, a strange man, who, they 
say, never sleeps at night; and of whom 
things are told, that would make the hair of 
a good catholic stand upright." " Have 
a care," repeated the stranger, " tha 
the same person be not within your walls 
at this moment." " Jesu Maria forbid/' 
said the host, crossing himself '' If he be 
under your roof, you are answerable for 
his appearance," said the stranger. ''It can- 
not be he," said the host, eagerly, vindi- 
cating himself from the imputation, *' for 
these plain reasons — " Here he enumerat- 
ed several circumstances relative to Ippoli- 
to's appearance ; every one of which tend- 
ed to confirm what he meant to disprove. 


^' I tell you/' said the stranger, exalting 
his voice, " he is within these walls. Look 
to him, as you will answer it to the 
most holy Inquisition." 

For some moments after this terrible 
sentence, the whole company seemed 
stunned into silence. Ippolito, partak- 
ing of their sensation, remained listening, 
rather from an incapacity to ex lude the 
sound, than any positive eflfort of at- 

" Who was he that came among us.^^" 
said the host at length, in a voice of fear. 
Every one alike disclaimed any know- 
ledo-e of him. Some withdrew from the 
spot he had just quitted; others looked 
fearfully towards the door. All agreed 
that he had entered unperceived ; that he 
had mingled in the conversation before 
they knew he was present ; and that 
he had departed without sound or visible 

VOL. iL V They 

^34 FATAL revenge; or, 

They then began to examine the few 
words he had uttered ; to compare their 
descriptions of his appearance, and their 
ideas of his real character and purposes, 
till, almost petrified with fear, they scarce 
ventured to raise their eyes to each other's 
visages, or to trim the lamp, which the 
imagination of each had tinged with vivid 

At length, their consultations took a 
less abstract turn, and they jointly deteir- 
mined on the expediency of apprising 
the holy Office of the character of their 
guest. But Ippolito, obeying the im- 
pulse of nature and despair, with a bold 
and rapid movement, threw open the 
door between the rooms, and stood a- 
mongst them. The group at this time 
were the host, the females of his family, 
their confessor, the monk of an adja- 
cent monastery, and some Campanian 



'' I am Ippolito di Montorio/' said he^ 
with a disarming voice ; " but I am not 
the monster you dread." In the energy 
of the preceding moment, he had con- 
ceived an appeal of resistless strength and 
eloquence; but his powers of utterance 
failed him. He tried in vain to collect 
the scattered images; they swam darkly 
before him ; their force only oppressed 
and stifled him. He stood with extend- 
ed arms, and a form whose expression, 
with the female party at least, amply sup- 
plied the place of elocution. 

The party, astonished and dismayed, re- 
mained silent, stealing, at intervals, a 
glance of doubt and fear at the spot where 
he stood. Their silence chilled and re- 
pressed the unhappy Ippolito. With vio- 
lence he could have contended, and with 
remonstrance he could have reasoned; 
but what was to be done with hopeless si- 
lence } 

u 2 At 

436 YATAL hevenge; ok, 

At length, the flush of his first impulse 
utterly fled, and his spirits dispersed and 
weakened, in a faltering voice he ad- 
dressed the host, intreating him not to 
accredit the wild and unauthentic suspi- 
cions of the vulgar, nor lightly to admit 
charges so terrible against a being, to 
whom no means of purgation were al- 
lowed, and against whom no definite proof 
could be urged. 

His ardour augmented by what he mis- 
took for the stillness of attention, he 
proceeded to call Heaven to witness his 
innocence. He attested every saint that 
he was a firm believer, and a good ca- 
tholic. " This is indeed,'* said he, " the 
time for me to cleave to God, when all 
his creatures desert and abhor me." He 
told them his sufferings arose from a dark 
and untold cause, that was locked with^ 
in his own breast ; " But those," said he, 
** who do not solicit confidence, are not 



therefore to be excluded from compas- 

He was proceeding with the increasing 
wamith which our own vindication sel- 
dom fails to inspire, when he was checked 
by a deep and universal murmur of de- 
testation. Wizard, infidel, and *' Eretica 
damnabile," were echoed from every mouth, 
*' I implore you/' said Ippolito, struggling 
with emotions that made utterance pain- 
ful, " to retract those horrible words, or 
at least to reflect on them. Be not so 
inconsistent in inhumanity ; be not so 
wanton in persecution. Did I possess the 
powers you ascribe to me, would I 
stand here to plead for reputation and 
honour to such a tribunal ? Would I sup- 
plicate beings from whom I never ex- 
pected to hear a sound myself but in 
supplication ? Would not my resentment 
sTiiver you to atoms ? Would not my 
sport scatter you to the winds } Would 
^ I not 

438 FATAL REV£NG£ ; Oil, 

I not myself mount on their wings, and 
fly to regions where persecution would 
not reach me ?" 

'' Stop your ears!" cried the host in 
horror ; " he is uttering some spell. He 
talks of the winds as familiarly as of a 
horse. Signor, whoever you are, I im- 
plore you to quit my house. Only quit 
it before the roof falls on us, and then 
you may mount the first wind you meet, 
and ride to the devil on it too if you 
like, with my best prayers for your speedy 
arrival." '' Oh \" said Ippolito, descend- 
ing, in hisdistress, to theplainest language; 
^^ talk not, I conjure you, of driving me 
from your house. I have often afforded 
shelter, but never asked it before. The 
protection of your roof is but little for 
a son of the house of Montorio to beg ; 
but misery is humble. I feel if I am 
driven frcm your doors no other will be 
opened to me. It will be the sealing of 
2 my 


my fate. I shall cease to have strength 
for any further conflict, or spirits for any 
further appeal. Will you be the first to 
raise the outcry of savage pursuit ; ta 
blast the victim of imaginary infection ? I 
claim the common privileges of a travel- 
ler. I am spent and overworn with weari- 
ness. Many days have past since I have sat 
at a domestic board, or stretched myself 
on a quiet bed. My wanderings have been 
restless and incessant." 

" So they may well have been/' said 
the monk, who thought it time for him 
to interpose : " Fac, ut illi similes sint 
rotas." " Sit via eorum cseca ac peri- 
culosa, angelus autem Domini profliget 

" Do not/' said Ippolito, with patience 
almost exhausted, '* do not overwhelm 
me with this blind and sottish severity. 
Ye have but one standard to judge of 
criminals by, and ye make it a bed of 
Procrustes, to all alike. Ye have but one 


440 FATAL reve>:ce; oh, 

formula of execration^ and you fulmi- 
nate that without thought or discrimi- 
nation. Is there no difference between 
offenders ? Are there no gradations in 
evil ? Is suspicion to operate like con- 
viction^ and is conviction itself to ex- 
clude humanity ? Do you reckon as 
guilty alike, the stubborn villain, from 
whose barred and brazen side your 
shafts rebound as they would from a 
rock, and an erring brother, to whom 
the bare glance of a reproachful eye is 
as iron that enters into his soul ? Do 
you reckon lost alike, him who has gone 
dow^n so deep into the gulph, that to 
follow him would be to sink along with 
him ; and him who yet shivers on the 
verge, and who can be pushed from his 
hold by despair ?" 

'' If you repent, and make expiation 
for your enormities,'* said the monk ; 
'' the church is an indulgent mother, and 



will absolve you on your confession and 

'' And is it then impossible to pro- 
cure the privileges of humanity^ but at the 
price of pouring out your whole soul to 
men, who can neither judge of its suffer- 
ings, nor heal its breaches; who will dis- 
miss you with the cold, professional look 
of the Levite, but sprinkle neither oil 
nor wine upon you ? Is it not possible 
that- a man may retain his integrity, ani 
yet cherish some secret he cannot dis- 
close ? Can you not believe him pos- 
sessed of resolution to bear up against 
some sore and inward trial, unless he 
forfeits that resotution by detailing its 
exercise ? Is there no compassion for 
the shame of suffering ? Is there no 
garment for the writhings of a naked and 
wounded mind, to vvhom the very air 
and light of day are torture, and who 
feels it is exposed, not to compassion, 
but to curiosity ? To complain is, to 
u 5j me^ 

442 FATAL revenge; or, 

me, hateful and uncongenial ; but to 
complain to the incredulous, to the un- 
pitying, to those who debate whether 
you are a criminal or a madman, while 
they listen to you — must, must, this be 
done ? Or, may I not be reckoned a fel- 
low-creature ?" 

" By my holy order," said the monk, " he 
blasphemes the church and her sacraments." 
Ippolito turned from him indignantly. 
" You," said he to the females, " have 
the habits of women : Oh ! have you not 
the hearts ? Judge of me in the gentle- 
ness of your natures. I am not what 
cruel and bigotted men have told you. 
I am like yourselves. I differ only from 
others in my sufTerings. I am no wizard, 
no sorcerer, no heretic. How can you 
credit such absurdities of one so helpless, 
so supplicating, so persecuted ? I am like 
yourselves. I have, like you, a dread of 
persecution, a hatred of oppression, a 



reputation to be blasted, a peace to be 
destroyed, feelings to be wrought to 
frenzv. Feel these hands I hold out ta 
you ; they are warm with life and fever- 
ish blood. Put your hand on my side. 
Feel my heart; it is beating, it is burst- 
ing with agony. I would it were broken 
this moment." Overcome by anguish, he 
staggered, he fell backward. A few burn- 
ing tears fell from his eyes; but they 
neither gave him. relief, nor the power 
of utterance. '' Christo benedetto," said 
the women, bursting into tears, '' how 
beautiful he is ! Ah ! madre di Dio, what 
a pity !" '' It is no pity," said the monk, 
" Satan can transform himself into an 
angel of light. I have seen him more 
than ©nee myself, in the shape of a white 

Ippolito, swallowing down his tears, 
sprung, with a convulsive impulse, to the 
knees of an old man^ who had, hitherto 


444 FATAL revenge; or, 

sat silent, and whose mild and veneraMe 
aspect seemed to announce an exemption 
from the resentments of nature. " Father, 
father,** said he, '' your looks promise me 
confidence and compassion. You are al- 
ready almost an inmate of that world where 
prejudice and passion are unknown. By 
your white hairs, 1 adjure you, ifyou have 
a son like me, believe me, acknowledge 
me, commiserate me. I an innocent, lam 
innocent ; and to leave that impression 
t)n such a heart as yours, would be well 
purchased by the suspicion and abhor- 
rence of a thousand such as those around 

The old man, who had vainly struggled 
to free himself from Ippolito's earnest 
hold, at length exclaimed with vehemence, 
*' If I had a son like yon, I would pray 
to heaven to make me childless. My 
grey hairs are defiled by the appeal you 
make to them. I have lived three score 
and eight years, and I had thought to 



have closed my eyes in peace ; but the 
sight of you has prevented it, I have 
lived too long, since I have lived to 
see you. I had heard of such wretches 
before. They were old, and withered, and 
miserable, and might almost be forgiven 
for resorting to forbidden sources to seek 
from them what nature and this world 
denied them. But you. Oh ! you^ so 
young, so beautiful, so exalted^ what 
temptation^ what excuse, wh<it plea could 
the destroyer of souls prevail with, to 
make yoit seal your ruin, body and soul } 
Release me ; my heart is breaking to see 
you look so. Why have you not the 
visage of a fiend as well as the spirit ? 
I might grow a heretic myself looking at 
you. Let me go ; nvy blood curdles at 
your touch. I said I had lived too long ; 
but I will not think so till I have heard 
of your terminating your horrid exist- 
ence in the dungeons of the Inquisi- 


446 FATAL revenge; or, 

The old man spake with the energy of 
virtuous abhorrence. He shook in every 
limb, and marked himself with the cross 
wherever Ippolito had touched him ; but 
his failing voice bespoke a lingering of 
humanity, which his zeal contended with 
in vain. 

Ippolito retreated from his last appeal. 
The fountain of his heart seemed dried 
up and sealed. The vitals of humanity 
were parched and withered within him. 
He extended his arms, and looked up- 
ward. " Then I am outlawed of nature. 
I am divested of the rights of being. 
Every ear is deaf, and every heart is iron 
to me. Wherever I tread, the sole of 
my foot dries the streams of humanity. 
I have done ; but you. Oh, you ! may 
you one day know what it is to knock at 
the human heart, and find it shut ! May 
you know what it is to fly from the hell- 
hounds of superstition, and hear their 
howl double on you at every winding ! 



May you feel^ with me, the malignity of 
men united with that of demons, to chase 
and scatter you ! and may the shelter to 
which you fly, drive you forth, as you 
have driven me, to despair!" He 
rushed out of the house, and ran 
wildly into the street, reckless of ex- 
pected danger, and only seeking to sub- 
due the sense of anguish by impetuosity 
of motion. 

•' Heaven be praised ! " said the monk, 
'* his smooth words did not seduce us to 
listen to him. He shewed his cloven foot, 
departing, however." " I saw no cloven 
foot," said the host, rather angrily. '' He 
went away, to my mind, just like a ca- 
valier in a passion.'' '' Just," said the 
women ; " he did not go away a bit 
like a sorcerer ; there was no blue flame 
or earthquake; nor did he carry away 
a stone out of the wall with him.'* 
" How !" said the monk; " will you 
presume to say he went out of the house 


448 FATAL revenge; OH, 

like a catholie?*' *' To be sure he did/' 
said the host ; " and, after all, I shall 
have nothing to tell of to-moirow in the 
town." " His presence has infected you/' 
said the confessor : " will you deny that' 
he was followed by a track of sulphur; 
in which you might see imps flitting up- 
and down, like motes in a sun-beam/' 
*' Holy father, be not incensed,*' said the 
wife; '^^ I do think there is indeed a smell: 
of sulphur." *' I begin to perceive it 
myself," added the host. " Let us pray,*' 
said the monk, &c. &c. &:e. 

Ippolito traversed^ the streets with ra- 
pid steps. Evening was not wholly cIcb- 
ed; but he could perceive that his pre- 
sence everywhere anticipated the solitude 
of night. Children fled from their sports 
as- he passed ; and the few passengers he 
met darted eagerly into another direction. 
The influence of the stranger seemed to 
surround him, like the spell of an enchan- 
ter, converting every human being he met 



into a silent shadow^ and making him a 
shadow to them. 

It was then he felt the extent of his 
misery. To be alone on earth; to for- 
get the language of man ; to lose the 
vital functions of nature; to be amerced 
of his humanity ; to find '^ those cords 
of a man/' by which the human race are 
drawn together, relaxed and severed by a 
power that was not deat?h ; to feel, like 
the Mexican victims, his hearty the seat 
of life and sensation, taken out, and held 
before his eyes, yet panting; to die 
mentally, yet still feel the burdens and 
sorrows of the flesh. A deep and utter 
desolation shadowed over his soul. He 
loathed life, but knew not how to die. 

He still continued to walk, from mere 
hopelessness of rest or shelter. Night 
arrived. He loitered on without ap- 
proaching a door, or addressing an indi- 
vidual. The blast scattered his dark hair ; 


450 FATAL revenge; or, 

his feet began to falter — when three per- 
sons, suddenly surrounding him, com- 
manded him in the name of the most 
holy Inquisition, to follow them. 

This was expected ; yet he felt thun- 
derstruck wheti it actually arrived. To an 
Italian ear, that name speaks unutterable 
things. It is associated, in their imagina- 
tion, with every idea of horror and ruin, 
eternal confinement, undiscovered obli- 
vion^ solitary and languishing death, and 
all shadowed over with a mist of super- 
stitious fear, such as the fancy believes to 
hover round the cave of an enchanter, and 
which is suggested by the peculiar mys- 
teriousness of the proceedings of that tri- 

Ippolito looked wildly on the men, and 
half-drew his sword; but, after a moment's 
conflict, folded his arms, and followed 
them. At this period, the Inquisition was 
not so fully organized in its several de- 


partments and motions, as it has since 
been. Its principal seats were then Rome 
and Naples. In the other cities it only 
maintained agents, who, with the help of 
ihe secular arm, observed, apprehended, 
and dispatched their several offenders to 
the principal seats of the office. The pre- 
sent agent at Puzzoli, was a Signer Gi- 
berto Angellini, a man of intelligence and 

There was no regular prison in the 
town ; but the number of suspected per- 
sons had lately increased so much, that 
they had been compelled to repair and 
fortify an ancient structure, that had form- 
erly been a Roman fort, and which stood 
on a mole on the western shore, whose 
waves beat against its hoary bastions, mur- 
muring sounds of woe to the sufferers 

Thither Ippolito was conducted. At 
another hour his mind would have thrill- 

452 FATAL revenge; or, 

ed and dilated with awe, as the dark fea- 
tures of his prison emerged to his view, 
in the windings of his long approach to it. 
The rude, gigantic portal, of a form elder 
than what was called ancient centuries back; 
the long perspective of arched passages, 
over which the torches of his conductors 
threw a flaring and shadowy light, fringing 
with deep red the tufts of weed and dusky 
grass, that wound through their clifts; and 
shewing the bold irregular shapings and 
fractures of their unhewn walls ; while 
often, as he passed among them, he caught 
bright glimpses of the distant sea, quiver- 
ing in the moonshine; or of the sky, whose 
deep, clear blue was strongly marked by 
the black indentures of the walls, whose 
edges it spangled with stars, finer than 
points of dew — the dark habits, the glid- 
ing steps, and the muffled visages of his 
guard, giving almost a visionary solemnity 
to their progress. 



They arrived at length at a larger and 
more regular apartment of the building. 
Ippolito observed, in its dark extent, grat- 
ed windows, and arched doors, that bore 
proofs of modern repair. His guard here 
bowing profoundly, resigned him to a 
person of solemn appearance, who ad- 
vanced from the opposite extremity of the 
hall, and silently lighting a torch at a 
lamp suspended from an iron chain in 
the roof, beckoned to Ippolito to fol- 
low him. 

They began to ascend a flight of stone 
steps. The cold wind, issuing from a thou- 
sand crevices, chilled Ippohto ; yet he 
saw neither door nor windov>^. The ascent 
seemed endless. His conductor glided on 
in unbreathing silence. Ippolito stopped. 
The man stopped also, by way of inquir- 
ing, without wordsj the reason of his de- 
lay. " I listen," said Ippolito, *' for the 
relief of some sound beside the echo of 
my own steps." The man paused for a 


454 FATAL kevenge; oh, 

few moments, as if to convince him no 
such relief was to be expected, and then 
glided on as before. They now reached 
an arched passage, where guards, fully 
accoutered, stalked backwards and for- 
wards, in silence also. They bowed to 
the person who conducted Tppolito, but 
at hiyn did not even direct a casual glance. 
The sullen habits of their office seemed 
to have extinguished all human feeling, 
even curiosity, the last that might be sup- 
posed to linger within the walls of an In- 

His conductor now led Ippolito through 
a dark, narrow chamber, to another, more 
spacious, but equally gloomy ; and light- 
ing a lamp attached to the wall, and 
pointing to a pallet scarcely distinguish- 
able in a distant recess, silently disappear- 
ed. Ippolito threw himself on it, and, 
reflecting that the influence of the stran- 
ger was excluded here, sunk into sleep. 



He was three days in confinement be- 
fore he was summoned to attend the In- 
quisition. During that period, the soli- 
tude and silence of his prison ; the noise- 
less step and mute visage of his guard ; 
the few and monotonous sounds that reach- 
ed him from without ; the toll of the bell ; 
the chimes of the night; the whispered 
watch-word of the guard ; and the hoarse 
dashing of the sea at the foot of his tower — 
had tranquillized his mind, and poured 
into it a still and patient melancholy, 
not destitute of vigour, but utterly distinct 
from sternness. 

On the third day, he was conducted to 
Signer Angellini's presence. Through 
the passages he traversed, he perceived 
day-light gradually diminishing, from the 
thickness of the walls, and the narrowness 
of the grated apertures. It was almost 
twilight, when they reached a low door. 
One of the guard touched it with a staff 
he held, and it opened. Ippolito was 


45(5 FATAL rsvenge; or, 

led into a room hung with black, and 
liglued by a lamp. The incjuisitor and 
his secretary were seated at a table at the 
upper end. The guard withdrew. There 
was little of the grim formality of an 
inquisitorial examination observed^ save 
that Ippolito was seated opposite the 
agents the prisoners of that tribunal not 
being permitted to stand during the exa- 

When the inquisitor raised his eyes, 
he seemed involuntarily struck with Ip- 
polito's form and expression : and survey- 
ed his wild and woe-tinted countenance 
with a feeling, Ippolito thought proscrib- 
ed within those walls. *' Be so good, 
cavalier," said he, " as to inform me 
whether you bear the name of Monto- 
rio ?*' " I did not know," said Ippolito, 
" that it was part of the business of this 
office to inquire the name." " In this 
case it is necessary,'^ observed the inqui- 
sitor, " as part of the depositions laid 



before us refer to the actions of a person 
named Montorio, and part state, that you 
are that person ; this point, therefore, 
requires the first consideration.'* 

Ippolito had heard much of the subtlety 
of the proceedings of this tribunal. He 
determined to make no concessions he 
could avoid, and to give no information 
he could with-hold, ''If your informa- 
tion be accurate/' said he, '' you need not 
inquire my name ; if it be not, it becomes 
you to seek from a more authentic source, 
I shall not disclose my name.'* " I must 
then proceed as if you had," said the in- 
quisitor ; *' that is the rule of our office 
in such cases ; but I must observe, few 
are thus anxious to conceal a name they 
have done nothing to dishonour." " To 
dishonour it,'* said Ippolito, with dignity, 
'' would be to avow it in such a cause ; to 
prostitute it to the refutation of absurd 
and malevolent charges." " You are 
then acquainted with the nature of the 

VOL. II. X charges 

458 FATAL revenge; OR:, 

charges urged against you ?'' said the in- 
quisitor, with surprise. " How is it pos- 
sible I should be ignorant of them ?" said 
Ippolito; **' they assail me from every 
mouth, at every step. The soh'tude of 
deserts, and the sanctity of churches pro- 
tect me in vain. They pursue me in 
society ; they haunt me alone ; they 
have poisoned my existence; they have 
subverted my peace, ahnost my reason. '^ 
'' If you were conscious of innocence," 
said the inquisitor, '^ why did you not 
apply to the church, or the secular power. 
Ko unofTending person can be thus per- 
secuted with impunity in a civilized coun- 

Ippolito gnawed his lip, and was silent. 
He perceived that the stranger, with the 
malignity and art of a demon, had snared 
him in his favourite pursuit; that he had 
involved him in guilt, which to conceal, 
was no longer possible, and to avow, in 
such a country, was fatal. 


'^ Were you ever in Puzzoli before ?" 
said the inquisitor. '' Never/* '' Did you 
witness any remarkable object on your ar- 
rival there ?" Ippolito hesitated. The ques- 
tiqn was repeated. '' I saw an extraordi- 
nary inscription in the aisle of the great 
church." '' What was the reason of the 
emotions you betrayed on beholding it ?'* 
''^ The emotion of surprise was too na- 
tural and general to require an individual 
to assign reasons for it; many others ex- 
pressed the same, whom I do not see 
here.'* '* You were observed to use some 
remarkable words. " '' Were my words then 
noted by casual observers ?" said Ippolito, 
shocked and overwhelmed at this discovery, 
'' Those around you were not casual ob- 
servers," said Angellini ; "your motions 
and your expressions have, from the mo- 
ment of your quitting Naples to the pre- 
sent, and for some preceding time, been 
in the possession of the holy Office." 

At this terrible intimation, Ippolito sunk 

back in his seat, and hid his face with his 

X. 3 hands. 


liands. He felt like a man, who, believing 
he has eluded the pursuit of an assassin, 
traverses a long and dreary path with 
hope, and just as he approaches its ter- 
mination, perceives that his pursuer has 
only sported with his destruction ; that 
he has followed him step by step, and is 
prepared to spring on him as he reaches 
the last. The inquisitor seemed slightly 
affected by his appearance, but renewed 
the examination. 

*' Had you,*' said he, '' ever beheld 
that inscription before ?" Ippolito, with- 
in whom all power or impulse of re- 
sistance began to fail, admitted he had. 
'* When, and under what circumstances ?" 
said the inquisitor. Ippolito hesitated, 
but was too dispirited to construct an an- 
swer, till the question was repeated with 
solemnity, " Ask your informer that,'' 
he replied, " and his answers will betray 
another victim to the holy Office; his 
confession will unfold a horrible tale.'' 

« He 


** He has already unfolded it/' said the 
inquisitor. " What — is it possible that 
he has surrendered himself to the judg- 
ments of the church ? Has he disclosed the 
mystery of his iniquity ? Is it possible 
that a vindication awaits me ?'* " Of 
^vhom do you speak ?" said the inquisitor, 
'' there appears some mistake here." '' Of 
whom!" said Ippolito with vehemence, 
*' of the evil one that haunts and troubles 
me ; of him who has blasted my exist- 
ence, who has d^fileu my conscience with 
horrid thoughts^ who has hunted me from 
society, and chased me into the talons 
of the inquisition." '' You speak then of 
one I am a stranger to," said the inquisi- 
tor, *' my informer was an individual 
of unquestionable innocence." ''^ It is im- 
possible," said Ippolito, ^' he could not 
have obtained his information if he were; 
none but agents were v/itnesses of the 
transaction." *' Have a care," said the 
mquisitor. '^ If it be impossible that a 


455 FATAL revenge; or, 

"witness could be innocent^ what are we 
to think of you }" '' You confound, you 
overwhelm me/' said Ippolito, " is this 
an examination ? I say, whatever guilt is 
supposed to be attached tome, the person 
who informed you of it, must partake; 
for v;here I was an agent, he was the 
same ; if he is innocent, I must be inno- 
cent also." " Ycu accuse me unjustly/' 
said Angellini, '' I extort no concessions, 
I equivocate myself into no unhappy 
man's confidence ; I desire to abide by 
the plain and direct meaning of your 
words. And to convince you of the can- 
dour of my proceedings, 1 give you to 
understand, that the charges exhibited 
against you are of so important a nature, 
that nothing but i\\^ most irrefragable 
documents should substantiate or re- 
fute them ; I have therefore compelled 
the personal attendance of the principal 
witnesses, v^ho are not yet arrived. This 
I inform you of, lest you should be ter- 



rlfied into a confession on the usual ap- 
prehension instilled by inquisi^tors ; that 
they are already in possession of every 
thing which confession can inform them 
of You have now time to arrange 
your thoughts^ and prepare your defence. 
I only wished by this private inquiry to 
discover if you had any wish to be spared 
the shame of involuntary confession^ and 
being confronted with positive testimo- 
ny. You may retire ; I lament your ap- 
parent obstinacy. I warn you — you have 
to do with a tribunal with whom the he- 
roics of affected defiance will avail just 
as little^ as the sullen retreat of an univer- 
sal and positive negation." 

Touched by this open address, and 
wTung by the thought, that the only senti- 
ment even the generous seemed to have for 
him, was a doubtful compassion ; Ippolito 
would have paused, and appealed — but 
it was too late ; the guard, on a signal 
unperceived but by themselves, advanced 



to reconduct Mm to his apartment, and 
the inquisitor and his secretary silently 
vanished in the obscurity of the chamber. 
He was led back to his solitary tower, 
where he had abundant leisure for the 
preparation the inqusitor had recom- 
mended to hiai ; but he had now no reso- 
lution for it. His mind was weary with 
misery ; his powers weakened by conti- 
nued sufferance, were now relaxed to that 
frame, which, out of great events and am- 
ple ranges of vi^w, i:eieLt3 only the re* 
cent and proximate points, and dwells 
on them v^ith minute partiality. Of his 
various and eventful life he only remem- 
bered and revolved his conference with 
the inquisitor. But by what means the 
stranger could reveal the transactions at 
Naples without acknov^ledging himself as a 
principal, or any other person could obtain 
a knowledge of them, he conjectured in 
vain. Yet even this state of uneasy de- 
bility and helpless fear was not utterly 



without relief. The varying colours of 
the sky, and aspects of the ocean, the wild 
scenery of rocks and ruins, that indented 
the bold curvings of the shore, and the 
endless varieties their shapes and hues 
underwent from the transitions of morn 
to noon, of evening to moon-light, with 
imperceptible gradations, too soft foi' the 
quaintest pencil, or most curious eye to 
follow; all these were with him in his 
prison. The influence of the stranger 
could not change the eternal forms of 
nature, nor prevent their gleaming through 
the high-grated window of his tower. At 
intervals, he even perused the fragments 
of Cyprian's strange story, which had 
been spared in the search he underwent 
on his entrance into the Inquisition. 

As long as the faintest ray o flight trem- 
bled over the water or the shore, Ippo- 
lito lingered at his casement, studiously 
confining his thoughts to external ob- 
jects, pleased even to observe the distant 
X 5 tokens 


tokens of involuntary sympathy, that 
were paid to his situation, or its imagined 
tenant. To observe the fishermen paus- 
ing on their oars, as they glided round 
the vast projecting buttresses that prop- 
ped the rock on whicli his tower was 
perched, and shake their heads, as they 
threw a scarce perceptible glance at its 
steep and impassable height. When the 
guard silently lit his nightly lamp, Ippo- 
Jito producing his manuscripts, would 
pore over them with unrelaxed attention ; 
not to procure pleasure, but to exclude 

Yet some of these excited his sympathy, 
exhausted as it was with personal claims. 
TJiey marked out regular periods of life as 
well as passion, and therefore conciliated 
a degree of substantial sympathy and vi- 
vid belief, not always accorded or sought 
in such performances. 

In the fragments he now perused, the 
writer seemed to have exhausted every 



drop of the bitterest draught ever held to 
the pale lip of human affliction — disap- 
pointed passion. She seemed to delight 
herself with imaging the last distress 
that could be now inflicted or with-held, 
— that of separation from the object she 
had loved in vain. Whether this separa- 
tion was voluntary or compulsive, ima- 
ginary or real, could not be discovered 
from the lines themselves ; but to Ippo- 
lito, they seemed like the struggles of 
weak resolution, (such as might be sup- 
posed to linger in the breast of a vestal 
crazed with love, ) torturing itself with 
more last looks at an object it could not 
accomplish, and could not renounce. The 
first of these fragments appeared an at- 
tempt to blend the warmth of passion 
with that of devotion. Yet the passion 
was neither sanctified, nor the devotion 
softened by the union. 


468 FATAL revenge; or, 


'Tispast! my anwuish'd heart proclaims 

The mortal conflict o'er ; 
This silence speaks what words can*t tell ; 

We part to meet no more* 


Do not, I pray thee, shed one tear, 

Let no sigh reach my cheek, 
Or my o'er-labour'd sense will fail, 

My o*cr-fraught heart will brea'k. 


I've wound my fainting courage high, 

And struggled hard for breath j 
Oh, let me bear away this smile, 

To deck the face of death. 


Is it not near, the blessed hour. 

When, fleshly suffering o'er, 
We'll glow with spirits' sinless loves ; 

We'll meet to part no more. 

But who can tell the last farewell of 
passion.^ It appeared impossible to tear 



her from this subject. Her mind seem- 
ed fixed on a point from which the ob- 
ject never lessened to her view. The 
next denoted a state of mind strange and 
rare. It was that in which all the cor- 
poreal partis of love have evaporated, and 
only the spirit lingers behind, to mourn 
over the remains, in which the decay of 
passion is lamented, not as a cessation, 
but a source of vwe. In which the to- 
tal decline of feelings, which have already 
begun to wax cold and hopeless, is anti- 
cipated, in which the '' loosing of the 
silver cord, and the breaking of the gold- 
en bowl," is expected with an anguish, 
which the loss of acknowledged calamity 
can scarcely be believed to inspire, ex- 
cept in the visionary mind of love, 


Good night, good night, my journey ends. 

The night-shades are closing fast ; 
But one faint ray prolongs the light, 

Nor long shall that faint ray last. 


470 FATAL revenge; or, 


Still, still while it gleams, must my steps pursue, 

Still rove by that witching ray ; 
But not long shall I follow the false path it points. 

But not h;ng shall the wanderer stray, 


Light the landscape no more, thou fairy beam; 

But fade in the face of the west ; 
/nd let all be cold as the bed of my home, 

And dark as the night of my rest. 


For when mine eye views thy meteor sheen. 

The way's long toil seems won. 
And hope*s quick pulse wakes my withered heart,.. 

And my failing steps urge on, 


Thou unnamed one, on whom while I. gaze, 

Mine eyes swim in dews of delight ; 
'Tis thou art my lone way's setting star, 

In solitude and night. 


But thow whose eye lit my early hope. 
Come, witness its last gleam o'er j 



Come, catch the kast, weak, struggling sigh 
Of the heart that can love no more. 

Fori raise my eyes to that madding form, 

That once made their senses fail ; 
And 1 twine my languid arm in thine, 

And unchanged is my check so pale. 

VI ir. 

And that soften'd tone, to which rapture danced. 

Its nameless spell is o'er ; 
And that eye, to whose beam the day was pale, 

Darts fire and madness no morx?. 


It is not that thou art less lovely, love, 

Or less bright thy noon-tide high ; 
The sense still might bask ir>thy sunny cheek, 

The soul still be lit by thine eye. 


But I am cold, and a deathly chiH 

OVr each frozen feeling creeps • 
And, cold, the flow of the fervid fails, 

And, husU'd, the loudest sleeps. 


472 FATAL revenge; or, 


The mastcr-liand wakes their song no morCi 
And their sound of accord is low ; 

And my wearied pulse is dead to pain. 
And my fevered heart beats slow. 


Then wonder not that my sighs are still'd, 
And the cold tear congeals in mine eye j- 

'TIS nature fiiils when passion fades ; 
And love only with life can die. 


For I have lived till each lost hour 
Has floated down passion^s stream, 

And loved till Heaven's immortal light 
Was quenched in thy brighter beam, 


My time, my health, my mind, my peace. 

Were tribute to its sway ; 
And when each humbler offering faifd, 

I pined my life away. 

Then wonder not, my heart's lost hope. 
At its scanted homage weak; 



But read the cause in my sunken eye, 
In my waa and woe-stained cheek. 


But shouldst thou approach the solemn bed, 

Where fluttering lite is stay'd, 
To pour its last look on thy form. 

Or for thy [Kuce to plead ; 


May I not at that hour, when anger is dumb, 

My heart's deep wound unfold ; 
Oh, may it not fail from my dying lip, 

That tale of horror untold. 


Oh no, for ere then will the fine nerve be broke, 

That should raise my closing eye j 
And all that would prompt my trembling tongue, 

Shall be hushed as its last, low sigh. 

But the tranquillity promised by the 
farewell to passion, was mere ternporiz- 
ins:. She still linirered over the remem- 
brance, and endeavoured to describe the 
desolation of life after its spring and hope 


47"^ FATAL revenge; or, 

are extinguished for ever. Compared 
to her former feelings, those she was 
now possessed with appeared like those 
of a departed spirit, hovering over the de- 
serted abode and memory of its human 
agency. Iler love darted a spent and 
feeble ray through mist and vapour. Its 
direction was unaltered, but its lustr« 


There was a ray that lit my life. 

It has sunk in the west so pale ; 
And once ere mine eyes that sight might see^ 

I hoped their sense might fail. 


There was a path of pleasantness. 
In which I was spelled to stray; 

I would I had died ere I lost that path. 
Though wild and lora my way. 


There was a voice which did discourse 
Sweet music to mine ear; 



And (oh that 1 live to hear fnine own) 
That voice I no more must hear. 


The ray that lit my life is sunk, 

The voice is stopped with sand ; 
And o'er that path forbid, high Heaven 

Doth wave a flaming brand. 


And I must wend my way alone, 

Despair's last curse to prove ; 
To pine o'er passion's varjished dream j - 

To live, yet not to love. 

But these pursuits soon failed to diver- 
sify the monotony of confinement. The 
repose of solitude soon degenerated into 
apathy — listless, depressing apathy. He 
beofan to remit the habits of watchinof at 
the window for objects ; of taking the ex- 
ercise the limits of his apartment allowed ; 
of making those petty provisions against 
utter vacancy, that every one makes on 
the first apprehensions of it; but which 


476 FATAL revenge; or, 

gradually decline as its influence in- 

Dreading the total enervation of mind 
and body, which the progress of this ha- 
bit menaced, he almost welcomed his se- 
cond summons to attend the inquisitor. 
There are few who could imagine such a 
message w^ould communicate joy ; but 
Ippolito longed for the sound of a human 
voice ; for the excitement which human 
conference supplies. He longed to try 
the po'wers of his iriind, and the organs 
of speech, to the exercise of which confine- 
ment had made him almost a stranger. The 
shadows, that silently presented him food 
and light at stated hours, had nothing of 
human but the shape. 

He was again conducted in utter silence 
to the same apartment, Trom which he 
again found the light of day excluded at 
noon, and supplied by torches which shed 
their smouldering and funereal light on 
darker hangings, and sterner visages than 



he had seen on the former examination. 

The depositions which Angellini had 
collected, had appeared to him so mo- 
mentous and extraordinary, that he had 
applied for assistants from the holy Of- 
fice at Naples, which were granted to 
enable him to make a more full and de- 
liberate report of the charges against his 
prisoner, before he was referred to the su- 
preme cognizance of the tribunal in that 
city. There was more of form on this occa- 
sion than the preceding ; and more of 
that appalling preparation, that dark 
pomp of mystery and fear. Quaint ha- 
bits, mute assistants, silent signals, and 
whispered consultations, by which the 
office obtain an influence over the firmest 
minds, utterly distinct from the sense of 
the awe of their authority, or the upright- 
ness and ability of their proceedin*gs. 

The examination, which lasted six hourS;, 

consisted entirely of questions drawn from 

the various depositions made before the 

5 inquisitors. 

47S FATAL revenge; or, 

inquisitors^ relative to Ippolito's sup- 
posed character and movements both be- 
fore and after he quitted Naples. Ip- 
polito collecting the utmost energy of 
his mind, and inwardly not displeased at 
the trial of it to which he was summoned, 
at first objected in a moderate, but ear- 
nest manner to the process of the exam- 
ination. He demanded the names of his 
accusers. He was informed it Was totally 
contrary to the practices of the institu- 
tion, to declare them. He then demand- 
ed a copy of the accusations, and time to 
prepare a refutation of them. He was 
told with this also it was impossible to 
comply ; that if the charges urged against 
him were groundless, no length of deli- 
beration was requisite for him to disclaim 
them ; and if they were just, the less eva- 
sion and delay in admitting them the bet- 
ter; so that in either case, a categorical 
afTirmative or negative was all that was 
expected from him. This was the sen- 


tence of the Neapolitan assessors; but 
on the representation of Angellini, they 
consented to let the depositions relative 
to which he was examined, be read to him 
before they proceeded. 

Ippolito listened to them with a solici- 
tude, (which even his dangerous and 
disastrous situation could not repress) 
to learn the various opinions and conjec- 
tures excited by conduct so extraordi- 
nary as his had been. Nor could he even 
resist the visionary vanity that inflated 
him, while he heard himself mentioned as 
a being whose character and purposes 
were only to be known by fearful conjec- 
ture ; who moved before the eyes of men 
in a cloud of mystery, through which they 
only caught passing glimpses of a form 
and movements more than human. The 
information laid before the holy Office 
of his conduct while in Naples, appeared 
to be the testimony of men who had 
watched it with w^onder and suspicion ; 



but without sacrificing either their judg- 
ment or their senses. They stated gene- 
rally, that he had been observed to wan- 
der out at night unattended, frequently 
with gestures of gloomy distraction ; to 
proceed to a certain spot, where he was 
met by a person of extraordinary appear- 
ance ; that almost immediately on each 
meeting, they both disappeared ; nor 
could the minutest search discover a trace 
of their persons, or their direction from 
that moment. To this extraordinary circum^ 
stance they added no fantastic comment, 
-no wild exaggeration; but they strongly 
noticed the obvious and consequential 
alteration in the Count's temper, habits, 
and pursuit, which from being gay and 
ope^, had become severe, unsocial, and 
gloomy. In addition to these were 
the informations communicated by the 
servant, who had accompanied him from 
Naples, and the peasant he had seen at 
Bellajio. These were as monstrous as 



/ear, falsehood and superstitious malevo- 
lence could make them. 

The wretch, whose folly had betrayed 
him atCelano,and whom he had afterwards 
forgiven, and condescended to vindicate 
himself to, when they met in the deserted 
inn, at Bellano, stated to the Inquisition, 
*' That his master was a sorcerer ; that he 
had endeavoured to seduce him to his 
iniquitous art ; that he had fled from him 
to avoid his persecutions ; that they had 
afterwards met in that untenanted house, 
whither the Count had resorted to confer 
with the spirits that were known to pos- 
sess it ; that supernatural voices had called 
him from room to room, and shapes of 
unimaginable horror had crossed and over- 
shadowed him ; that terrified at a situa- 
tion which no human courage could sus- 
tain, he had swooned, and just before his 
senses forsook him, had seen Montorio 
sinking in a fiery cloud through a chasm 
in tlie floor, from which a host of huge, 

VOL. ir. V black 

482 PATAL retenge; or, 

black hands, armed with claws of griffins, 
were extended to receive him. The pea- 
sant whom he had met when wandering 
round the building, deposed that he 
had seen him assume different forms 
while he spoke with him; that at the 
end of their conference, he suddenly 
sprung upon the highest turret of the 
building, where he appeared, mounted 
on a black horse, who breathed fire, whose 
feet were cleft into talons, and whose 
mane scattered lightnings ; that goading 
this terrific courser with a large serpent 
he held in his hand, both disappeared, leav- 
ing a train of bluish light behind them/' 
If this information proved any thing, it 
proved that he had not entered the build- 
ing at all. The inquisitors crossed them- 
selves with devout horror as they listen- 
ed to it, and Angellini hardly suppressed 
a smile that struggled with indignation 
.and pity. 

Ippoiito observed with astonish m-ent, 



that not an article of this information 
had been supplied by the stranger; nor 
was there any mention of the terrible 
transactions of the vault at Naples, which 
he believed had been divulged by him 
to the Inquisition, and would have con- 
stituted the subject of his examination* 
As it appeared, however, it must be par- 
tially known to them, by the process of 
the first examination, of which the sub- 
ject had been the recognition of the in- 
scription, he concluded that its present 
suppression vras only a device of inqui- 
sitorial subtlety, w^hich concealed the 
extent of information, in order either to 
lead to it by a chain of evidence, it 
would afterwards be impossible to re- 
trace or disentangle, or to anticipate it 
by confessions drawn from tae prisoner 
in the course of examination. He re- 
solved therefore to admit nothing but 
v/hat they already possessed ; of which 
its absurdity was the easiest refutation. 

Y 2 At 

484 FATAL revenge; or. 

At the conclusion of the depositions, 
he was solemnly exhorted to confess, by 
(he principal inquisitor. " What have I 
to confess?'' said Ippolito, " what mockery 
of equitable investigation is this ? You 
urge accusations too monstrous for the 
credulity of an ideot; and you hope by 
affecting to believe them, to impose their 
belief on one whose conscience and me- 
mory disavow them ; to make him doubt 
the testimony of his senses, and the 
events of his own existence; or to lead 
him in the fictitious heat of vindication 
from imaginary charges, to the mention 
of real ones/' (At this ill-timed obser- 
vation, he saw the inquisitors exchange 
looks of grim intelligence ; but he was 
exasperated, not checked by it, and hur- 
ried on. ) '' Confession ! Of what use were 
confession to me now ? If I should even 
convince you of my innocence, can you 
restore to me its purity and its praise ? 
Can you restore it to me without suspi- 


cion, and \vithout reproach ? Imposs- 
ible. He who has once entered your walls, 
never can regain the estimation of soci- 
ety — never can regain his own confidence 
and honest pride. Whether acquitted or 
convicted, it matters not; he is held in 
the invisible chains of suspicion for life; 
the damps and dews of his dungeon form 
an atmosphere of repulsion around him 
for ever; the shadow of your walls 
darkens over him like a curse. Of what 
avail v^ould confession be to me ? It 
cannot recal the past, it cannot un- 
make me a prisoner of the Inquisition. 
Your dreadful policy can neither reverse 
its proceedings, nor remedy its evils; it 
rushes through society confounding, sub- 
verting, and trampling ; but it cannot 
pause to raise or to repair ; and if it 
eould, it were in vain. The wounds it 
inflicts are mental, and therefore can- 
not be healed ; the brand impressed by 
irons red from the furnace of superstition, 
can never be effaced;, and ache at every 


48G FATAL REVENGE ,* 01?, 

breath of heaven. No reputation of ha- 
bitual innocence, no actual evidence of 
universal integrity, can protect your vic- 
tims. A single suspicion, a whisper, a look, 
can dash them from the heioht of human 
excellence into the dungeons of the In- 
quisition ; the most abject villain may 
blast and destroy the most exalted of man- 
kind. Though unassailable every where. 
to the view^, the most trivial of his mo- 
tions, the very heel of his moral frame 
may be reached by the shaft of clandes- 
tine malignity, and the wound is mortal. 
Of what service is acquittal to such a 
man ; is the world into which he re- 
turns, the same as that he quitted ? No ; 
while he slept in the lethargy of confine- 
ment ; the vestal fire of his honour, which 
it was the business of his life to guard, 
has gone out ; and he sees its ashes scat- 
tered and trampled on. How are these 
evils to be anticipated by confession ? 
Confession itself is an engine of mental 
torture^ which none but an inquisitor 



^vould use ; it is possessing yourselves, 
under the name of religious authority; of 
the means of gratifying carnal and selfish 
cariosity. It is, where your natural forces 
have failed^ to lurk in the horse of super- 
siili'jn, and enter in dishonourable tri- 
umph. The thoughts and actions of the 
purest lives cannot bear this universal 
scrutiny. There is no human being fully 
known to another ; it is only by partial 
ignorance, that mutual esteem is pre- 
served. To the wife of his bosom^ to 
the friend of his soul, to his own consci- 
ousness and recollection, a man will not 
dare to reveal every thought that visits 
his mind ; there are some which he almost 
hopes are concealed from the Deity. 
When a man exhibits his mind, he shows 
you a city, whose public walks and palaces 
are ostentatiously displayed, while its pri- 
sons, its cages of unclean birds, its hold 
of foul and hidden evil are conceal- 
ed ; or' he exhibits it as he would the 



sovereign of that city, when he stands on 
the pinnacle of his pride, and looks round 
on the ample prospect of his own magni- 
ficence^ not as when he flies from the re- 
sort of men, and herds with the beasts; 
when his power is lost in degradation, and 
his form buried in brutality. 

And why confess toi/cu ? What claim have 
you from nature, or from confidence for 
the demand, or do you ground it upon the 
absence of all ? Are we to repose in you 
a trust, withheld from all mankind beside, 
because you have less motive of solicitude, 
less claim on confidence, less power or wish 
of sympathy than all mankind ? Are i/ou 
like the ocean, to engulph in silence and 
darkness, the treasures intended to be 
shared with affection and sympathy ? is 
confidence like the ebony, the growth 
ofsubterrene darkness^ the nursliuGfofa 
dungeon ? No, it is your greedy, furtive, 
serpent curiosity, that longs to wind itself 
zhout the tree of knowledge; 'tis the 



ambition of a fiends counterfeiting the 
aspirations of an angel, like the impure 
priests of a pagan idol^ ye love to prey- 
on violated purity, that as yet has never 
sacrificed to nature or to passion, and to 
call it a rite of religion/' 

He would have proceeded, for the in- 
quisitors listened with the most unrelax- 
ed composure ; but Angellini, shocked 
at his impetuosity, that offended without 
advantage, interrupted him by observing 
with severity, " That a vg^gue and rhapso^ 
dical declamation was no defence ; that a 
definite charge had been read in his ears, 
and that they were prepared to listen to 
his vindication ; that on the wild expres- 
sions he had used, no construction could 
be put that could tend either to the in- 
formation of his examiners, or his own 
exculpation." This v/as said with the 
benevolent intention of dissipating the 
injurious inferences that might be drawn 
from the careless vehemence with which 
he poured out his thoughts. 

Y 5 *' Vindication," 


^'Vindication," repeated Montorio/' from 
what? From charges you do not, you can- 
not believe — from charges of which my 
present situation is the fullest refutation. 
Who can believe such powers as they a.^- 
cribe to me, to belong to a being whom 
they themselves hold in durance and 
dungeons ? If I possess these powers, 
why do I not exercise them for my own 
preservation ? If I can remove the barriers 
of nature, and sport with the opposition 
of the elements, why am I here ? Have I 
more pleasure in terrifying a solitary 
peasant, than in extricating myself from 
persecution and danger ? Why do I not 
mount in flames ? Why do I not cleave 
your walls at this moment ? Do these 
powers desert their possessor at his hour 
of need alone ? No, it is impossible you 
can be thus deceived; no habits of sus- 
picion and bigotry could reduce minds 
to such a level in judgment ; it is imposs- 
ible such weak instruments could impel you 



to distrust the experience of your senses^ 
the course of nature, and what should be 
more unquestioned than either — the ho- 
nour of a noble house ! No, your infor- 
mers and your information are of a higher 
class ; 'tis no dream of a lying menial 
that has brought me here." '' You are 
conscious then of some more important 
causes which the holy Office have had for 
their proceedings relative to you/' said 
one of the inquisitorsc ''I did not say 
so," said the prisoner. '' You implied it," 
said the inquisitor. 

At this observation a new object- 
rushed en Moiitorio's mind ; that of 
turning his defence into an accusation. 
He found that it was impossible to con- 
tend against 'the evidence of his dark 
pursuits they were possessed of; all that 
cou'd be done, was to make their confes- 
sion fatal if possible, to the minister of 
evil who had betrayed and destroyed him. 
The terrors and dangers of the fate that 


492 FATAL revenge; ok, 

probably awaited his confession, disap- 
peared, when he thought of his enemy 
trembling before the same tribunal with 
himself; his visionary person and claims, 
either reduced to a definite and vulner- 
able substance, or analysed and dispersed 
to their original element. His natural 
vehemence, his curiosity, his despair of 
exclusive vindication, urged him toge- 
ther to this bold movement. The toils that 
invested him he could neither rend nor 
unravel ; but with a lion-bound, he 
broke away and bore them with him. 
" I am conscious,'* said he, in a firm tone, 
** that other and more momentous in- 
formation has thrown me into the prisons 
of the Inquisition ; but I am also con- 
scious, that he who supplied that inform- 
ation, is dyed a thousand fold more black 
and deep in its implications than 1 am. If 
there be guilt, he has been the framer, 
the prompter, the minister of it. Sum- 
mon him here, if you can. Confront me 



with him. Let his business be unfolded 
with a solemn and deliberate hand. When 
we stand as criminals together; then 
will I speakj and tell a tale that shall 
amaze your souls. Till then, I shall only 
speak to arraign the justice of the pro- 
cedure that treats a supposed offender 
as a criminal, and an actual one as in- 
nocent. He could not accuse me without 
condemning himself. Why is he not 
then here along with me ? Can he alone, 
like the Messinean assassin, stab invisible 
and unpunished ? Can he only shake offthe 
viper of sorcery from his hand, and feel 
no hurt ? Can he like the fabulous ferry- 
man, convey souls to the infernal regions, 
yet never enter them himself?" 

Angellini again interrupted him to as- 
sure him the conceptions he had formed 
of this character, were totally erroneous; 
that he was an innocent individual, who 
had not even a personal knowledge of 
Montorio, and whose only motive in giv- 

494 FATAL revenge; OR;, 

ing information to the holy Office was a 
disinterested zeal for the Catholic faith: 
Montorio persisted on the other hand in 
the most emphatic assertions of his posi- 
tive guilt. '' He is a sorcerer/' said he. 
" He is an ecclesiastic," replied Angellini: 
''He is a murderer/' pursued Montorioi 
'' He escaped with difficulty from the 
fans-s of murder/' said An^ellini. '' He 
is a fiend/'' repeated Montorio^ gnashing 
his teeth, '' and his office is to betray the 
souls of men." ^' His office/' said Angellini 
seriously incensed, '^ has been to rescue 
a human soul from its betrayers/' '' Prove 
your charges,'' said the inquisitors, ''prove 
that the person who informed against 
yen, is obnoxious to the power of the 
holy Office, and here v/e pledge our 
faith, that he shall be cited to our tribu^ 
nal." '* Reverend fathers, he knows not 
what he says,'' said Angellini. *"' 1 know 
what I say, Signor," said Montorio, ''and 
I also remember what I have said ; I re- 


member that I pledged myself to prove 
the guilt of your informer, in the event 
of your summoning him to your tribunal^ 
and confronting him with me." " And on 
what information shall we cite him ?" 
said the inquisitor. 

Again Montorio was silent from con- 
fusion and fear. He found it necessary 
to criminate himself in order to the 
bare citation of the stranger. In the mo- 
ment of his hesitation, Angellini again 
interposed. '' Reverend fathers/' said he^ 
*' here is some profound mistake. The 
prisoner is evidently ignorant of his real 
accuser. Permit rne to relate the circum- 
stances under which I received the in- 
formation on which he was confined; 
they will perhaps remove his errors with 
regard to the person of t\\& informer, and 
assist us to examine this intricate and 
mysterious affair" The inquisitors he- 
sitated, till one of them reminded the 
rest, that by doing so they might discover 
the person against v/hora Montorio's invec- 

AOG FATAL revenge; or, 

tives had been directed, and that the dis- 
covery might furnish further matter of 
cognizance to the holy Office. They 
therefore permitted Angellini to proceed 
in his narrative, to which Montorio listen- 
ed with the breathless, fixed attention of 
one whose existence and vital determina- 
tions were suspended on the words of 
the speaker. 

** It is now near a month," said Angel- 
lini, " since I was informed, one evening, 
that a stranger desired to speak with me on 
affairs relative to the holy Office. I desired 
him to be admitted. He was in the ha- 
bit of an ecclesiastic. His figure and face 
were remarkable ; but of his voice, I ne- 
ver shall lose the memory of the sound as 
long as I retain my senses. The singular 
degree of awe, almost amounting to repug- 
nance, v/hich his appearance inspired, was 
removed by his entering on the subject of 
his business, with unusual promptness and 



His narrative was extraordinary, but 
perfectly probable. He mentioned that 
he had been travelling from Padua to 
Naples ; that his direction was to a con- 
vent iw the western suburbs of that city, 
where he had not arrived till the approach 
of night. That his ignorance of the ave- 
nues of the deserted part of the city, 
combined with the lateness of the hour, 
at length suggested some apprehensions 
of his personal danger, which were con- 
firmed when he saw from the projections 
of a ruinous building which he was to 
pass, two figures occasionally leaning and 
retreating when they perceived them- 
selves observed. He could distinguish 
indeed that their habit and appearance 
was utterly unlike that of assassins, or 
indeed any class of men he had before 
seen in any part of Italy ; but he knew 
not vv'hat disguises assassins might assume 
in Naples, and he felt it was probable 
there could be no comm.on motive for 




their partial and hurried concealments. 
In the first impulse of his fear, he dis- 
mounted from his mule, and ran to shel- 
ter himself under a dismantled arch, which 
he did not conceive to be connected with 
the building from whence they had ap- 
peared to start. He had hardly done so, 
when he heard their steps approaching 
his retreat, and saw their tall sha- 
dows projecting from the entrance of 
the arch. He rushed desperately for- 
ward. In the tumult of fear and flight. 
Little accuracy was to be expected from 
him with regard to the passages he tra- 
versed, or the objects he witnessed ; other- 
wise perhaps deserving the minutest at- 

His perceptions, he confessed, were 
only exercised to discover whether the 
steps of his pursuers were advancing on 
him. He perceived they were, and sprung 
headlong forward with the rapidity of one 
who fears no danger, but the obstruction 



of his flight. The steps of his pursuei-s 
gained on him. He peixeived he had 
reached a flight of steps^ and he rushed 
down them without any other object than 
of escape. Occupied only by his fears, 
he did not perceive the vast depth he had 
descended to, till he was in utter darkness. 
Terrors of equal magnitude now beset 
him, and he endeavoured to retrace his 
former steps, or discover some means of 
relief and assistance. While he was thus 
employed, he perceived a faint light in 
the vast distance of the darkness that sur- 
rounded him. He approached it through 
many obstructions he described with the 
strength of personal suffering, but which 
I need not repeat, and at length discover- 
ed that it twinkled through an iron grating 
in the wall of the passage he w^as travers- 
ing ; he applied his eye to it, and beheld 
wuthin, figures employed in actions which 
suspended every faculty of mind and sense, 
as he gazed on them. In the first im^ 


500 FATAL revenge; or, 

pulse of horror he would have fled; but 
after a moment's delay, found himself ri- 
vetted to the spot by the very feelings 
that at first would have hurried him away. 
He remained long enough to observe the 
agents and their strange deeds, with thatr 
tenacious and indelible feeling which the 
very reluctance of horror impresses on the 
mind. He reported them to me with 
strong, but evidently real emotion, such 
as none but the recollection of actual 
. objects could inspire. In consequence 
of this information, I proceeded w^ith re- 
gard to the holy Office, and to its prison- 
er, as you have seen ; I also communi- 
cated the mode of his escape from the 
vault, and his extraordinary reasons for 
laying his information before me, instead 
of the tribunal at Naples.*' " They v/ere 
extraordinary,'' said the inquisitor^ ^' but 
fully justified by the event." 

Montorio had listened with the pro- 
foundest attention ; but remained un- 


convinced. A secret mistrust of the 
stranger's agency, bound up his mind as 
if by a spell of incredulity. He addressed 
himself to Angelh'ni. '' I have little/* 
.said he with solemnity, " to offer in sup- 
port of what I say, but my own convic- 
tions. I cannot be supposed armed with 
a regular refutation of positions I now 
hear for the first time ; yet there are no 
words of sufficient power to express the 
firmness of my belief, that the circum- 
stances you have just now mentioned, 
are only a new device of subtlety and 
malevolence, which I have found exhaust- 
less; they are incongruous, fictitious, 
impossible." He paused to search his me- 
mory for some circumstance to substantiate 
his assertions. After a long silence, he said, 
with a severe smile, '' You will form a judg- 
ment of the streagth of my convictions, 
and my earnestness to impress them on 
you, from my being led to confess circum- 
stances no other power could have ex- 
5 torted 

502 FATAL revenge; or, 

torted from me. The vault of which your 
informer pretended he commanded a 
view, had neither grating nor aperture ; 
it was on every side inaccessible but to 
those who visibly entered it. In this point 
I feel 1 cannot be mistaken. No lapse 
of time, no intervention of other circum- 
i&tances, however numerous or important, 
ran efface from my memory, the few and 
minute notices it retains of that place. I 
have counted every stone in its walls, the 
curve of the arches, the depth of the sha- 
dow, the peculiar hue of its blackness, 
are written on my soul for ever. You see 
I do not deceive you, when I venture on 
defences so distinct. Reverend fathers, 
it is impossible that any being could have 
approached from without the place, your 
informer specified. He must have been 
the instrument of another's ministry — the 
channel of higher intelligence. I again 
repeat my adjuration, that you will com- 
pel him, from whom you received your 



information, to attend the tribunal of the 
holy Office, and confront him with me 

" This incredulity is affected," said 
Tin inquisitor, '' we have more than 
the bare assertion of the witness for 
his extraordinary information ; we have 
proof, such as none but the most intimate 
knowledge could supply, and such as ar- 
tificial obduracy will resist in vain. Must 
we remind you of the mysterious inscrip- 
tion over the portals of the vault ? Could 
that have been recognized and reported 
to the Inquisition by one who had never 
read it.?" Montorio trembled ; he thought 
he felt the toils of evidence tiohtenirs'r 
around him. '' Must we remind you," 
said the inquisitor, in a thrilling voice, '' of 
-the bloody dagger that is for ever shaken 
before your eyes, and of the deed its sight 
recals and punishes— that deed unseen^ 
unspeakable, wrought in central darkness, 
lapped in the very skirts of Xht nether 
world. I see you tremble — I tremble my- 

504 FATAL revenge; ok, 

self.'* He sunk back in the seat from 
which he had risen in the force of speak- 
ing ; the attendants hid their faces with 
visible shiidderings of fear. Montorio^ in 
broken and inaudible tones, said, with fre- 
quent intervals, " I cease to feel for my- 
self — to speak for myself; I have no lon- 
ger any power of defence or of resistance. 
I speak without hope of belief or convic- 
tion ; but I speak it with the solemn firm- 
ness of despair. I am a prisoner without 
a crime ; 1 am a visionary without inter- 
course with forbidden things ; I am a 
murderer without the stain of human 

He stopped suddenly. A hollow, 
broken sound succeeded. The inquisitor 
motioned to the attendants to lower the 
lamp that w^as suspended from the ceil- 
ing, that they might observe the changes 
in his countenance. It was then J:jer- 
ceived that he had fainted. He was con- 
veyed to his apartment; but tlie inqui- 


sitors entered into a consultation that 
continued till midnight. When Monto- 
rio recovered, the opera tiors of his mind 
were decisive and rapid. Danger was no 
longer indefinite or avoidable ; but in 
proportion as it became certain, his ter- 
rors were diminished, or exchanged for 
other feelings. The temper of his soul 
became at once rigid and vindictive. His 
sensibility of suffering was appeased by 
the hope of teaching another to suffer; 
and the horrors of the Inquisition only 
served to exalt his prospect of revenge. 

On the next appearance of his guard, 
he signified his wish to be supplied with 
pen and ink, and to be undisturbed for 
some time, in order to prepare some docu- 
ments for the inspection of the holy Office. 
His request was complied with, and he de- 
voted himself for some days to writing; but 
as he proceeded in his task, he was often 

VOL. II. z checked 


checked by suggestions of repentance. 
The goaded and unnatural vehemence of 
mind that prompts to extraordinary 
movements, soon fails us, if their execu- 
tion be not instant. This occupied some 
time ; and during that time he often de- 
bated the possibility of some interme- 
diate measure, often lamented the ne- 
cessary violence of motion the emer- 
gency compelled him to ; and was only 
urged to the completion of his task, by 
the recollection that he was pledged to 
its performance, and that the danger of 
confession in his case, admitted neither 
degree nor diminution. 

On the third day it was completed ; 
and he then put it into the hands of 
Angellini, who received it with a look 
of mournful solicitude, which his judi- 
cial gravity vainly resisted. Montorio 
gave it to him in silence, a silence which 
the other's deep feeling did not permit 



him to break. He was quitting the room^ 
when Montorio waved his hand. An- 
gellini heard the sound this slight motion 
occasioned; and turning eagerly round 
said, " You wish then to speak with me ?'* 
*' No, Signor/* said his prisoner, '' no ; 
I have now neither wishes nor fears. 
Let the holy Office be acquainted as soon 
as possible with the contents of these 
manuscripts/' "■' And for me," said An- 
gellini, with emotion, '' you have no 
charge for me ?" '' Yes," said Monto- 
rio, after a pause, " to reflect on the 
horrors of that fate, to fly from which 
I have plunged into the dungeons of 
the Inquisition/' 

Angellini quitted the room. For an 
hour after he left it, the prisoner re- 
mained fixed in his seat, his clasped 
hands resting on his knees, his head de- 
clined, his eyes fixed on the ground, 
which he did not see. The sun set, 
z 2 and 

508 FATAL KKVEKGE ; 02?^ 

and it grew dark ; but he perceived no 
change of light or object. 

At length, he felt a step in the room, 
and dimly descried a figure vvhich stood 
opposite him. He saw not whether it 
wriS human or not; nor did he raise his 
eyes till he heard, addressing him, the 
voice of the Straiis^er, " You now," said 
he, repeating the words he had uttered 
at Bellano, " behold me in another form^ 
not as a forteller, but as a witness of 
your fate." Montorio beheld hirn stead- 
fastly. He was now in the dress of a 
monk, which he wore with the ease and 
freedom of an habitual dress. '' It is he," 
said the unhappy young man, speak- 
ing to himself; "it is he, but I will not 
see him.'* '' You can no longer avoid 
it/' said the stranger; *^ here are no re- 
sources to palliate the deceptions of 
sense. We are alone; nor is there any 
human cause or object to hide from either 



of US the real character and purposes 
of the other." '' I will not look up till 
he is past/' said Montorio, still speaking 
inwardly ; '' this terrible shadow will soon 
disperse, and I shall be a whole man 
again." " Look up, look up/' said the 
stranger; '' it is no shadow that stands 
before you; it is the form of him who 
has followed you so long, who must fol- 
low you for a term still ; of him, from 
whom it is folly to fly ; for your flight 
has only been into the clutches of the In- 
quisition-" '^ Better a thousand-fold than 
into yours ; better into the hands of man 
than of you, w^hom I will not call a de- 
mon, lest I should wrong superior de- 
pravity. Yes, I have fled hither ; and 
therefore it is, that I can bear to behold 
and confer with you. Look round, and 
tell me what has an inmate of this man- 
sion further to fear. I stand upon the 
utmost verge of nature. I shall see or 
hear my own species no more. Lam a 
z 3 prisoner 


prisoner of the Inquisition for life. I 
have reached the bare and desolate crag, 
and the wave of vengeance bursts at my 
feet. Here I am safe in despair. You 
did not calculate this last giant-spring. 
You did not know that life is easily 
thrown away by him to whom it has lost 
its worth. You did not know that a 
soul can wrestle with its chains of dark- 
ness ; aye, and do deeds with them be- 
yond the pitch of mortal implements. 
Fool ! how I have mocked and baffled 
you ! how I triumph over you this 
moment ! How did you enter this pri- 
son ? By all that is good I am re- 
joiced to see you. Hark ! I have intel- 
ligence for you. I have told every thing 
to the Inquisition — every thing, by my 
immortal soul ! I am a prisoner for life; 
I know it; I triumph in it. Better their 
chains for ever^ than yours, in thought, for 
a moment.'* '' What do you call my 
chains ? I never forged or bound them 



on you. I unfolded their connexion as 
far as was visible to humanity. Mine 
is a hopeless task — to reconcile nature 
to suffering, and pride to shame. But 
weariness will not excuse it. I, whom 
you think the sole and voluntary mover 
in this business^ I am myself impelled 
by a hand whose urgings never remit or 
rest. The central seat of our mysteries 
at Naples; the solitary heights of the 
mountain ; the vault at Bellano ; this 
chamber in the prison of the Inquisi- 
tion — are all but parts of a progress that 
is incessant and interminable ; though it 
mostly holds a direction invisible to the 
human eye. I know your folly in dis- 
closing your secret to the Inquisition. I 
knew it before I entered these walls. 
What have you gained by it ? The pub- 
lication of your guilt, the certainty of 
your condemnation. Were all the armies 
of the earth summoned together to hold 
you from the commission of that deed, 


51^ FATAL REV£KGE; 01?, 

it were in vain. They would only wit- 
ness what they could not prevent. To 
resist the agency of the invisible worlds 
you might as well employ a broken reed, 
a gossamer, a mote, as the whole pith and 
puissance of the earth. To conduct your 
steps in silence and without interiTiption, 
I threw over them a veil of mystery. You 
have rent it open ; and what have you gain- 
ed by it ? — Exposure without commisera- 
tion, and confidence without assistance.'* 
'' I will not," said Montorio, '' be 
pushed from the proof by words. The 
trial'hour is arrived; the power with 
which we are to contend is extrinsic and 
impartial. I have strove darkling with 
you ; but the light approaches at last. 
These walls are indeed the last retreat 
man would fly to ; but they will pro- 
tect me. I feel here a gloomy strength, 
a defiance of those devices by which you 
have deluded my senses. You cannot 
crumble these tov^^ers into dust; you 



ccii^fiot fi;-ht Willi an iii;tita(!ori whose 
zouxC-2 n \n the povv^r nnd \li.\h of th? 
chiir^^h." '' It w.^'c bcHer for yoiithu I 
thoald ; but your ingradkide and ob- 
duracy deserve that I should resign you 
to your fate." '' What is it you mean ?*' 
said Montoiio. '' Do you then know so 
little of the Inquisition? Do you ima- 
gine that they can believe the tale you told — that they will not consider it 
as an attempt to delude and mock them, 
and you as an audacious and obdurate 
enemy of the faith. No ; should you 
disclose to them all you saw and all you 
imagined, they vi/ould never believe your 
confession, full or sincere; they will 
look on you as a hoard of dark secrets, 
which can never be exhausted ; and they 
will for ever continue urging you to con- 
fessions when you have no longer any 
thing to disclose. Shelter in the Inqui- 
sition ! Yes, they v/ill give you shelter 
safe and deep ; your bed v/iil be burn- 


ing coalsj ^nd you will be pillowed on 
pincers and searing irons. No declara- 
tions of ignorance will avail you ; and no 
resources of fiction will shield you from 
their endless persecution/' ^' There is 
yet a resource/' said Montorio; " I can 
die/' '' Die ! you know little of the In- 
quisition. Oh, they have horrid arts of 
protracting life ; of quickening the pulse 
that vibrates with pain ; of making life 
and sufferance flow on together like two 
artificial streams of which they hold the 
souixes. They inquire to what precise 
limit nature can support their inflictions, 
and precisely to that limit they pursue 
them ; and then remand their prisoner 
to his cell, to renew his strength for the 
next conflict. You will waste away in 
their dungeons, like the lamp that glares 
on your agonies. You will never, ne- 
ver escape their hands, till you are un- 
consciously enlarged- to do the deed you 
fled into them to avoid in vain." *' This 


The family of montorio. 515 

impossible/' said Montorio; '' the grave 
will sooner yield up its dead than the In- 
quisition her victims. Here, I am safe. 
It is a dreadful immunity ; but I welcome 
it. I will stretch myself on my burn 
ing bed. I will gripe the irons of tor- 
turCj for they will protect me from you. 
To preserve my life and innocence is 
perhaps impossible ; but it is at least 
possible to purchase innocence with 
loss of life." " You are deceived. It 
is indeed in your power to aggravate 
your sufferings by fruitless resistance ; 
but not to remove their cause. The 
deed you are fated to do, you may de- 
lay, but cannot decline. Respiration is 
not more necessary to existence, or con- 
sciousness to thoMght. You might as 
well contend to reverse the past, as to 
resist the future. Your struggles may 
work the torrent into foam, but cannot 
repel its course. The dungeons of the 
Inquisition^ and the sumftit of a moun- 

5 16 FATAL revenge; ORj 

tain afford you equal shelter. For proofs 
of the power with which I, the weakest 
minister of your fate, am armed, I can, 
at this moment, bid those bars of iron 
dissolve. I can lead you forth through 
every passage of your prison, under the 
eyes of your guard, in the very pre- 
sence of the Inquisitors. Will you be 
wise ? Is your arm strong ? Is your 
heart set and bound up ? Will you do 
the deed to-night ? Within an hour you 
shall be on the spot ; your path so se- 
cret, a leaf shall not rustle beneath 
your feet ; your blow so certain, no 
groan shall follow it. Shall this be the 
hour — the hour of enlargement — aye, 
and the hour of fame. A pestilence, 
an earthquake, a volcano live in the his- 
tories of men, when sunny days, and 
drowsy prosperity are forgotten." 

His manner, as he spoke, changed be- 
yond all power of description. It was 
bold, animating, daring; but mixed with 

a wild- 


a wildness that appalled, with a demon- 
greatness of wickedness and strength that 
exalted and terrified. He placed his 
hearer on the extreme point of a pre- 
cipice, shook him over the abyss, and 
laughed at his shudderings. Montorio 
looked at him for a moment with a fix- 
ed but speechless eye, and then said in- 
wardly, '' If my passage be only thither, 
there is a shorter way." 

As he spoke, he sprung up with a 
violence neither to be foreseen nor re- 
sisted ; and, rushing past the stranger, 
dashed hfmself against the massive and 
studded barrings of his iron door. He 
fell to the ground. The stranger raised 
him, and perceived he breathed no 
longer. He bent over him. He receiv- 
ed in his hands the blood that gusKed 
from Montorio's forehead and mouth ; 
and, holding it out, murmured, "Drink, 
drink, if thou hast any mouth ; but do 
not haunt me with those famished eyes. 

VOL. II. A a Yes, 


Yes, yes, anon I shall sup with thee, and 
we will feast it well.'* 

As he spoke, his eye fixed on a re-i 
mote spot in the darkness; and he 
shrieked in agony, " Oh, hide, hide the 
scourge — thou seest I am about it/' 


C. Stowcr, Printer, Paternoster Row,